A hyena may not be your average house pet, but in northern Nigeria some men keep the creatures in their homes, display them at festivals and even use their dung or saliva to make remedies
Who are the Hyena Men of Nigeria?
Primarily made up of Hausa men, the Hyena Men go into the darkest corners of the forest, hunting for hyenas, snakes, and baboons. Usually, they steal hyena pups from their mothers, and train them until they are fit to perform in their street circus. These men move from city to city, performing for a bewildered audience. In addition, these men sell some of these animals to zoos. These men have no other means of livelihood away from this. It is all they know, all they have ever done their entire lives.
But this lifestyle raises an even more important question: since the hyenas, baboons, and snakes are considered dangerous, how have these men managed to turn them into pets that do their bidding? How have they maintained a relationship akin to that of a man and a domestic dog?
The secret is black magic or juju
African countries, especially Nigeria, are no stranger to the mysterious nature of black magic. While there exists no scientific backing to support the existence of black magic, Africans, Nigerians included, have argued that it is real.
The same sentiment is loudly echoed in the community of these hyena men. From childhood, these people are fed with concoctions which are believed to protect them against these animals. To test the efficiency of these concoctions, children are placed in closed spaces with these animals. It is believed that this process will help children become familiar with these predators, preparing them for their life ahead.
While many have disregarded these practices as superstitious, adding that these men don’t show the world the scars from these animals, several hyena men have continued to dazzle audiences in many Nigerian cities with their performance. Some have placed their heads right in the mouth of the hyena, while many others, seemingly absent-mindedly caress the teeth of these animals.
But away from the novelty of these circus performances, or the interesting lifestyle of these people, the truth cannot be ignored for so long. Not only does this interrupt the interactions of the ecosystem, it also poses a mortal danger to every human involved. Furthermore, it is an extreme case of animal brutality, which could have an adverse effect on Nigeria in the long run.
Of course, the lifestyle of the Hyena Men has been met with scorn and anger in the international community, with animal preservation organisations calling for a stop to this practice, asking that new laws be introduced to tackle this custom.
In the video below, you can see The Mysterious Hyena Men of Nigeria- The Terrifying Animal Gangs Of Nigeria
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Video resource: Our Life