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In A City That Welcomes Hyenas, An Anthropologist Makes Friends

Willi is the young male hyena who treated Marcus Baynes-Rock like a friend. (Marcus Baynes-Rock)
Willi is the young male hyena who treated Marcus Baynes-Rock like a friend. (Marcus Baynes-Rock)

Imagine running with a pack of wild hyenas down the dark alleyways of an ancient city at night. That’s exactly what one Australian anthropologist did in Harar, Ethiopia – one of the few places on earth where the human residents invite wild hyenas to enter their habitat.

Marcus Baynes-Rock traveled to Harar and made friends with one young hyena. In his new book “Among the Bone Eaters,” he writes about the culture and his own transformation, from an academic into someone who, as they say in Harar, has “the blood of the hyena.”

Vicki Croke, host of WBUR’s blog The Wild Life brought us Baynes-Rock’s story.

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This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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