The IUCN Hyena Specialist Group together with external collaborators are updating global range maps for all members of the family Hyaenidae; Spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), Striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena), Brown hyena (Parahyaena brunnea) and Aardwolf (Proteles cristata). Range maps for these ecologically important carnivores have not been updated since 1998.
This ambitious project began in June, 2018, since then the Hyaena Distribution Mapping Project has compiled over 100,000 data points from hundreds of sources across the vast range (Africa, Asia, and Europe) of the four species, including researchers, protected area managers, government agencies, environmental NGOs, and various online sources and citizen science platforms. This data will be used to update the Red List Assessment for each species as well as in the publication of a new IUCN Status Survey & Action Plan. Moreover, a quantitative status update is desperately needed in order to determine and justify conservation activities in a new action plan.
The key collaborators had carried out a three-day Workshop at the Ongava Research Centre (Namibia) in order to review the available data, to delegate core tasks, and to discuss and analyse the large amounts of information collected by such diverse means. Personally, it has been a great pleasure to meet exciting researchers with a common interest in hyenas’ conservation and an amazing experience to present my PhD project. Moreover, HDMP has collated a wealth of threats and density information through this data collection process, including many unpublished studies. Therefore, it is expected that this tremendous sampling effort will result in the most comprehensive dataset collected for any of the Carnivora yet, enabling a detailed conservation assessment of these species and the influences impacting their sustainable persistence in increasingly humanized landscapes around the world.