This is the fifth and final part on the story of Crocuta. Crocuta was now 3 years of age and have been in a clan of her own for almost a year. I still visited her whenever I had time, I would call her to the fence and she would come running to the fence to greet me.
One afternoon, after the guests in camp had lunch I went there to call her. She didn’t come and I was a little bit concerned. I considered the possibility that she was just becoming wilder and more interested in having her own clan than coming to me, but also worried that she was ill. I discussed it with my husband that evening and he said that some of the other staff working in camp saw her the day before and that she was fine.
Things were quite busy in camp and one afternoon a few days later, when our guests had just left camp, one of our housekeepers told me that she saw a baby Hyena with Crocuta. I was over the moon. This explained her behaviour; she was looking after a little one. I immediately went to go have a look, but no luck. Crocuta came to the fence briefly, but not even a glimpse of the cub.
I woke up the next morning, before the sun was up and went to sit by the fence very quietly. For a good 20 minutes nothing happened. And then I experienced one of the most magical moments ever. She came right up to the fence after making sure everything is fine. She was urging her cub to come along. It was as if she came to the fence to show me her cub. The cub was petrified, but followed her closely. For a few moments it stood next to the fence on its own and studied me. I was in love with this little monster. I was also quite surprised to see that the cub did not look new-born at all. My guess was that the cub had to be more than two weeks old at least. This means that Crocuta successfully hid her cub and was looking after her well. The cub looked healthy and well fed. There is no way to explain how happy and proud I was. Even though Crocuta was hand raised her wild instinct once again, proved to be completely intact.
Crocuta was a fantastic mother. While she was caring for the cub, the male was patrolling their area regularly and his interactions with the cub were friendly and protective. They were a fully functioning clan.
I am happy that Crocuta’s story turned out so well. As mentioned in my first part of this story, raising a wild animal is partly raising sadness. You love a wild animal as if it is your pet, but it can never be. If the wild animal grows up and ends up to be accepted by its own kind and functions well without you, the process was worth it.