Gender test for new SA hyena cub

·1-min read

A skin sample will be sent to Berlin to determine the sex of a spotted hyena cub recently born at South Australia's Monarto Safari Park.

The cub was born in August to 14-year-old mum Forest and 19-year-old dad Gamba.

Cubs initially have black or brown coats, with their spots developing over time.

But park officials say it is notoriously difficult to tell the sex of a spotted hyena, with the external genitalia of both sexes appearing very similar.

A skin sample will be sent to the Serengeti Hyena Research Group in Berlin over the coming months to determine the cub's sex.

Assistant curator Jon Allon said keepers had caught sight of the new cub a few times, with its mum bringing it out of the den.

"Forest and Gamba are a bit of a power couple, so they've both been looking after the cub and the family are all doing really well," he said.

"Hyena are an often misunderstood species. They are highly intelligent and are excellent thinkers, problem-solvers, and are incredibly inquisitive.

"Their species is often portrayed as scavengers, but they are actually very successful hunters and get up to 75 per cent of their food from their own kills."

Forest has successfully given birth to seven cubs, including one born through Australia's first hyena caesarean section in 2013.

Her new cub is yet to be named, with Swahili words Tumaini (hope), Cheka (laugh) or Cheza (to play) on the short list.