Over much of its range, the brown hyaena lives in association with other carnivorous animals and benefits from many of them by scavenging from their kills. Lion kills provide many scavenging opportunities for brown hyaenas, although they are dominated and even sometimes killed by lions. The brown hyaena is usually dominant over the leopard, cheetah, caracal, and black-backed jackal. Competition for food between the brown hyaena and black-backed jackal can at times be severe (eg., Wiesel 2006), and vultures too can deprive the brown hyaena of food. The spotted hyaena is dominant to the brown hyaena and in certain areas deprives it of a significant amount of food. This may have a detrimental effect on brown hyaena numbers in certain areas and may even affect its distribution, as where the spotted hyaena is common the brown hyaena is usually absent or very rare (Mills 1990).

A brown hyaena carries a seal pup off the beach on the Namibian coast. Photo by Ingrid Wiesel.
A brown hyaena and a jackal compete for a carcass. Photo by Michael Kilpatrick.

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