The Ngorongoro Hyena Project - Hyena experts and consultants for the book “The Spotted Hyena Joins a New Clan”
We are an international team of scientists affiliated with the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin, Germany. For over 26 years, we have been conducting research on the behavior, ecology, and evolution of spotted hyenas in Ngorongoro Crater, a protected area and UNESCO World Heritage site in Tanzania. We are also strongly engaged in evidence-based conservation of spotted hyenas and other large carnivores, collaborating closely with local communities and authorities to mitigate human-carnivore conflict.
Morning visit at the communal “Loki” den. Credit: Bettina Wachter
Spotted hyenas are fascinating animals. The intricacies of their social life, power games, and love stories beat any soap opera. And hyenas are pretty special in other ways, too. Females dominate their societies and social status depends on friendships rather than force and coercion. Plus, their amazing hunting skills, extremely powerful jaws, and ability to survive the deadliest diseases make them the ultimate safe keepers of the African savannah. That’s why it is so important to understand how hyenas live, what they need to thrive, and how vulnerable they are to human disturbance and climate change.
Two gorgeous females from Clan Lemala. Credit: Oliver Höner
For our work, we monitor the life history of all the hyenas living in Ngorongoro Crater; we recognize each individual hyena by its unique spot pattern and ear notches. That’s about 500 hyenas – nearly 3,000 since the start of the project in 1996 – distributed in 8 clans! We are strong advocates of non-invasive research: we do not immobilize the hyenas nor put collars on them. We observe hyenas from a distance in our research vehicle. This way, we can study their natural behavior. This hyena population is one of the best-studied mammal populations in the world. It puts us in the privileged position to study how dispersing hyenas such as Kujali integrate into their new families.
Spotted hyenas can be identified by their unique spot patterns. Credit: Oliver Höner.
The Crocodile Research Coalition - Crocodile experts and consultants for the book “The Crocodile’s Hatching Day”
Credit: The Crocodile Research Coalition
The Crocodile Research Coalition (CRC) is a Belize-based nonprofit that seeks to preserve crocodiles and their environments throughout Central America and the Caribbean to ensure the long-term sustainability of biodiversity in the region. We believe the success of our conservation efforts parallels the involvement and support of the local community. Thus, we are continuously working alongside local communities and partner organizations to empower people with the knowledge of co-existence and sustainable practices to ensure the survival of crocodiles and the well-being of the communities that live beside them.
Credit: The Crocodile Research Coalition
Shirley Waisman - Illustrator
I discovered the wonderful world of illustrating children's books in Japan, where I lived for two years after I was awarded a Research Scholarship. Before that, I earned a BA in visual communication at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design.
Fast forward to today, I've illustrated over 60 books, worked as an illustrator and graphic designer, and raised three energetic boys.
One of my great pleasures is nurturing the community of children's book creators as the Illustrator Coordinator at SCBWI Israel.
My quest to learn is ongoing, while continuing to illustrate new books, I am constantly experimenting with different techniques and materials, and working with a rich assembly of elements and textures.
Swahili Children's Books
An initiative that aims to promote the learning of the Swahili language through fun, accessible, bilingual children's books. Their website is a hub full of resources, tips, explanations, and book recommendations to help parents teach their little ones the language spoken by approx. 82 million people in the world.
Our paths crossed when we were looking for a translator for Swahili for "The Spotted Hyena Joins a New Clan". Alongside the Hyena Project, our aim is to provide to provide access to the story to local communities who actually live close to spotted hyenas.
The book was translated by M.K. Nicholas Mchawala and is available for sale.