Rolling Hills Zoo is delighted to introduce Kito, a male spotted hyena, as the latest addition to its animal family. Kito has made the journey from Hattiesburg Zoo in Mississippi to Rolling Hills, a significant step in the Species Survival Program (SSP) for these majestic creatures.
Born on October 17, 2022, Kito holds a special place in the Spotted Hyena’s Species Survival Program, being the only surviving hyena born in North America in 2022. Descending from parents Niru and Pili, Kito's lineage plays a vital role in the ongoing conservation efforts for these remarkable animals.
Kito will reside in close proximity to Maxi, the zoo’s female hyena, facilitating their introduction to each other and their new environment.
The arrival of Kito and Maxi provides visitors with a unique opportunity to observe and compare the distinctive physical features of African painted dogs and hyenas. While the two species are often confused, hyenas distinguish themselves with their larger stature, a substantial head atop a long, muscular neck, powerful jaws, and distinctive spotted markings. In contrast, African painted dogs exhibit a colorful, patchy coat with markings as unique as a human fingerprint, large bat-like ears, and a bushy tail with a white tip. Notably, hyenas showcase more competitive behaviors compared to the teamwork displayed by African painted dogs during hunts and in caring for pack members.
Despite their well-known "laughter" vocalizations, hyenas use these sounds not as an expression of joy but rather as a response to stress, threats, or frustration.
The transfer of Kito to Rolling Hills Zoo necessitated the relocation of Iris, the capybara, to the south yard of the maned wolf exhibit. However, Azalea, Iris’s sister, will continue to reside in her current pond yard.
The public is invited to witness Kito, Rolling Hills Zoo’s newest resident, as he adapts to his new surroundings and forms a bond with Maxi. This presents a rare chance to witness these fascinating animals up close.