Engitati – the Hide-and-seek players
Number of members: 45
Territory size: 35 km2
Alpha female: Makini
– born: 20-10-2007
– alpha since: 27-11-2011
Characteristics of the clan:
- The name of the clan refers to the Engitati hill which offers a magnificent view over their territory.
- Are often hard to spot because they prefer resting places in long grass, behind rocks, in bushy river banks, or in abandoned warthog dens.
- Gained a lot of experience in hunting buffalo because large herds of buffalo roam through their territory nearly every day.
- Often share their communal dens with warthogs. It can even happen that warthogs use the same entry and exit as the young hyena cubs.
In portrait: Shrink
Shrink and his dominant twin sister Vinya were born to Beba in the Lemala clan. As low-ranking, Beba did not have much milk for her two twins. From very early on, hungry and subordinate Shrink therefore tried to suck from other mothers, including Mafuta, the alpha female of the Lemala clan at that time. Mafuta herself was nursing her first-born son of almost the same age as Shrink. At first she kept snapping at Shrink whenever he attempted to suck at her teats, but Shrink did not give up and kept insisting. After a few days, young and inexperienced Mafuta resigned and nursed both her son and Shrink for many months. This made a splendidly strong male out of weakling Shrink.
At the age of three and a half years, Shrink left his birth clan and joined the Engitati clan. There he started to sire cubs while still in his first year of tenure. This is exceptional because immigrant males usually have to wait several years before females accept them as mates. And Shrink kept being chosen by the females and 5.5 years later, he had sired more cubs than any other male of the Engitati clan, even though he never became alpha male. And he still holds the record!
When 9 years old, Shrink decided to risk a fresh start and re-dispersed to the Munge clan. We do not know for sure why Shrink left the Engitati clan. He may have been challenged by lower-ranking males or simply wanted to check if the grass was greener elsewhere. Using his experience at building coalitions, he managed to stand his ground against the much younger males that immigrated into the Munge clan after he did and continuously rose in social rank until his death at the old age of 16 years.
Read about the Forest clan >