A trait seen among humans of setting aside rivalries when facing a common threat is not unique to them alone, as hyenas and wolves in the Negev Desert are also following it for survival, finds a study published in the journal Zoology by the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
Striped hyenas (Hyaena hyaena) and gray wolves (Canis lupus) in the Negev Desert in Israel are struggling for food. Both of them have the ability to kill large-sized animals, including dogs. In fact, hyenas also known to even pick up fight with lions sometimes.
But the problem is hyenas and wolves do not get along with each other. But the researchers were shocked to see striped hyenas walking in the middle of wolf packs while looking for hunt within canyons in southern Israel.
This alliance was first noticed in tracks in the region and later confirmed when the behavior was seen in the wild. The behavior, which has not been recorded before, has left scientists wondering as to whether it is a newly-developed behavior or it is a common thing among them.
Study’s lead researcher Vladimir Dinets of the University of Tennessee said, “Animal behavior is often more flexible than described in textbooks. When necessary, animals can abandon their usual strategies and learn something completely new and unexpected. It’s a very useful skill for people, too”.
There is a possibility that the both of them have partnered to derive benefit of each others’ plus points. Hyenas are known to have a great sense of smell and are able to smell carrion from a greater distance. This helps the animals to find garbage dumps from a greater distance than wolves could sans hyenas.
On the other hand, wolves are capable to take down large game, increasing the possibility of food sources in the arid region. Negev is the harshest arid environment, where both of them could be found.