ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Large numbers of hyenas and humans are coexisting in Ethiopia even though the hyenas' diet is almost exclusively domestic animals, a study found.
An international team of scientists said humans and hyenas are able to coexist because the hyenas are mostly scavenging dead livestock so the associated cost to people is both marginal and tolerable, the BBC reported Wednesday.
Spotted hyenas are the most important large scavengers and hunters in many areas of Ethiopia.
In the study area of northern Ethiopia there is very little natural prey for the hyena because agriculture has degraded and fragmented their habitat, researchers said.
As a consequence "spotted hyenas are almost entirely dependent on anthropogenic food," study author Gidey Yirga of Ethiopia's Mekelle University said.
The peaceful coexistence without conflict between human and hyenas is mutually beneficial, he said.
"Spotted hyenas benefit from waste disposal and human communities benefit from the waste-clearing service."
The study was published in the journal Mammalian Biology.
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