Belfast Zoo welcomes new hyaena Lea

Lea is making herself at home at Belfast Zoo

THERE'S a new arrival in the hills of north Belfast where a female striped hyena is making herself at home in Belfast Zoo.

Lea arrived on April 1 from Africa Alive in Suffolk and is the first hyena to call Belfast Zoo its home for many years.

The zoo is now one of only two in the UK and Ireland to be home to this unique species.

Although hyenas may look dog-like, they are not members of the dog or cat families. Instead they are so unique that they have a family all of their own called hyaenidae.

There are four members of the hyaenidae family including the striped hyena, the spotted hyena, the brown hyena and the aardwolf.

The striped hyena has a yellow-brown coat with black stripes on the body and legs. A mane of long dark hair grows along the back and the most striking feature is the legs, as the front legs are much longer than the back, giving the hyena its distinctive walk.

Zoo manager Mark Challis, said: "We are always excited to welcome a new arrival to the zoo but we are particularly excited as we are now one of only two zoos in the UK and Ireland to be home to this stunning species".


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