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The serious world of hyenas

Hyena mother and cub

MSU zoology professor Kay Holekamp is considered one of the world's leading experts on spotted hyenas. While hyenas are often portrayed as jokers of the animal kingdom, Holekamp and her team of student researchers are unlocking some of the mysteries of these socially complex creatures.

Holekamp and her students are in Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve conducting research to answer fundamental research questions in the areas of disease ecology, evolution, behavior, and conservation. She and teams of students have been studying spotted hyenas for more than 20 years as part of various projects funded by the National Science Foundation.

In addition to enhancing understanding of the basic biology of a fascinating large carnivore, the work also contributes significantly to the maintenance of ecosystem health in one of the world's richest biodiversity hotspots. This research also offers unique and highly valuable training opportunities for MSU students in an international environment, helps to train Kenyan graduate students, and supports Masai students in rural elementary schools.

Read a special report.

Keep up with Kay Holekamp and student researchers on their Notes From Kenya blog.

Read a post by Kay Holekamp on the New York Times Scientist at Work blog.

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