The Hyenas of Harar

This piece, inspired by the show Planet Earth, tells of a centuries-old tradition of feeding wild hyenas in the Ethiopian city of Harar. A legend states that hundreds of years ago, hyenas continually attacked citizens of Harar until the leader spoke with the hyenas and proposed a compromise. The leader told the hyenas that if they stop attacking people, they will be fed unused scraps of meat in return. This meat that is inedible to humans is no problem for the jaws of a hyena; and the citizens see this consumption of inedible meat as the hyenas ridding the town of evil spirits. Since this ritual began, there have been no reported attacks in Harar and a symbiotic relationship has grown between the people and the hyenas. The people of Harar not only feel safe, but welcome the sight of these imposing animals. .