Who’s the bad guy now? Nigeria’s hyena men prize the underdog

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Who’s the bad guy now? Nigeria’s hyena men prize the underdog

A practice in northern Nigeria puts a spotlight on one of nature’s most maligned creatures

Nneka Chile and Seun Sanni

A hyena may not be your average house pet, but in northern Nigeria some men keep the creatures in their homes, display them at festivals and even use their dung or saliva to make remedies.

Abdullahi Jahun comes from a line of hyena men, as they are called. He learnt how to tame and handle a hyena from his father, and now makes a living from touring around northern Nigeria to entertain crowds with his own animal.

“This was my job from when I started walking as a child,” said Jahun during an appearance in the city of Kano. “I used to see my elders do it and became enthusiastic about it.”..

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