The latest arrival at Belfast Zoo is trying to shake off its bad guy reputation which has earned it the title ‘Scourge of the Serengeti’.

Lea, a female striped hyaena, has arrived from Africa Alive in Suffolk.


Zoo curator Julie Mansell said: “Hyaenas have quite a bad reputation in popular culture and they are regularly labelled as ‘the bad guys’. Hyaena eat carrion and their jaws enable them to crush bones, teeth, horns and other body parts that other predators have left uneaten.

“While spotted hyaenas are renowned for their ‘laugh’, striped hyaenas are usually silent and use body language to communicate.

“From the short time that we have worked and cared for Lea we can say that many of the myths are far from the truth. Lea is extremely intelligent and quite shy and has been a pleasure to work with.”

Lea 2

Belfast Zoo are now one of only two zoos in the UK and Ireland to be home to this stunning species.

You can support the care of Belfast Zoo’s striped hyaena by taking part in the animal adoption scheme. For more information visit

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