Hyenas set to be a hit this Christmas with Horsham-based wildlife charity

Gorph the hyena, Born Free Foundation (c) BFF SUS-141124-165802001
Gorph the hyena, Born Free Foundation (c) BFF SUS-141124-165802001

They may not be the prettiest, or the fastest, or enjoy the best reputation amongst the animal kingdom, but this Christmas the Born Free Foundation based in Horsham has launched its most unusual animal adoption – the hyena family.

Now joined by newest family member, baby ‘Gorph’, the hyena family adoption makes a great and unusual gift for any animal lover!

Adopters will receive a personalised gift pack which includes an adorable cuddly toy hyena and regular magazine updates – it’s a gift which lasts all year!

Little Gorph was washed out of the family den by a torrential storm, orphaned and close to death, when staff at Born Free’s Wildlife Rescue Centre, ‘Ensessakotteh’, in Ethiopia were called to his aid.

The tiny bear-like cub was found hiding in a drainpipe by a local flower farmer, and was aptly given his name which means ‘flood’ by Country Representative Stephen Brend, who explains that being surrogate mum to such a demanding little hyena is no laughing matter!

“Gorph was in a very bad way at first, but is getting stronger all the time thanks to regular bottle feeds day and night.

“Initially we couldn’t tell whether Gorph was male or female, and we only recently discovered that he was in fact a greedy little boy!

“In fact he enjoys his food so much that he often forgets to swallow, and milk squirts out of his mouth, down his legs and all over the carpet... and me!”

Gorph will now receive a lifetime of care from staff at Ensessakotteh, as being hand-reared means that he will be unable to live independently in the wild.

When he is old enough he will be introduced to the other rescued hyenas living at the centre. Whilst not your typical ‘family’, the group is made-up of other orphaned hyenas who have been unable to survive on their own, and individuals rescued by Born Free from the misery of a life in captivity in terrible conditions.

Stephen, who has worked at Ensessakotteh for four years, and has a wealth of experience caring for Ethiopia’s amazing indigenous animals, explains: “Gorph is incredibly lucky to have survived his ordeal, not least because many Ethiopian people consider hyenas, which are nocturnal, noisy and hunt in packs, to be ‘public enemy number one’ because of the damage they can cause.

“At Born Free, we care deeply for each individual animal and so are very grateful that the farmer who found Gorph called us in to help. We are now very much looking forward to the day that little Gorph is able to meet the rest of his adopted family.”

An animal adoption makes a fantastic Christmas present! Adopt the hyena family for just £2.50 a month, and help the milk and expert loving care that Gorph and his friends need, and ensure the Born Free Foundation can rescue other hyenas in need in the future.

To find out more visit www.bornfree.org.uk/hyena

Report and picture contributed by the Born Free Foundation.