It's no secret that the qualifications of a zookeeper is more than just a love of animals. They spend their days being the eyes and ears of the entire zoo no matter what the weather. Constantly getting wet and dirty and being on duty during the weekends and holidays is just part of their day. Our zookeepers also are in constant contact with visitors to the zoo; answering any questions they might have and oftentimes working in the encounter areas of the park. And as you can probably imagine, over time, zookeepers develop a special relationship with one or more of the animals.
During our Zookeeper Appreciation week we highlighted our dedicated and trained zookeepers on our Facebook page and gave them the opportunity to share one of their favorite animals at the zoo. Head Zookeeper Jen Domaszek posed with her Wildwood favorite, Kya the Striped Hyena.
In celebration of Kya's fourth birthday on May 31st, we have selected her as the subject of today's blog post.
Kya is a Striped Hyena, which is one of the three hyena species. The other two are the Brown Hyena which are a near threatened species and the more commonly known Spotted Hyena.
Unlike the Spotted Hyena, that live in clans run by one dominant female, both the Brown and Striped Hyenas are solitary animals.
Although hyenas physically resemble dogs they are actually more closely related to cats. Hyenas are well known scavengers, but will also hunt their own food. Striped Hyenas like Kya also eat fruit and other plant matter.
Wish Kya a happy birthday and if you are lucky, you might catch her in the act of enjoying her favorite treat - peaches!