Ngoitokitok – the Chubbies
Number of members: 33
Territory size: 21 km2
Alpha female: Runda
– born: 27-08-2007
– alpha since: 25-02-2018
Characteristics of the clan:
- Members of the alpha matriline have extraordinary strong and massive skulls.
- The clan in which we confirmed for the first time based on behavioural observations and genetic fingerprinting that all three cubs of a triplet litter can survive to independence in the wild.
- The only Crater clan with more reproductively active males than females.
- The territory with the highest prey density for many years.
In portrait: Kiwanda
Kiwanda held either the alpha or beta position in the hierarchy of the Ngoitokitok clan during most of her long life – she died when she was almost 17 years old. With her massive, wide skull and her impressive figure she embodied the clan’s nickname ‘Chubbies’.
Kiwanda was also the first free-ranging hyena mother who managed to rear all cubs of a triplet litter. Rearing a triplet litter is extremely challenging for spotted hyena females because they only have two functioning teats and cubs depend on maternal milk for a very long time – spotted hyena females lactate their young for up to two years.
But Kiwanda was unique – both as hunter and mother. Thanks to her high rank, her experience and her unique hunting skills she ate more than any other hyena. This allowed her to produce sufficient milk even for three hungry cubs – and she made sure that all three of them got their share by keeping them in separate den holes. Crazy enough, two and a half years and two litters after rearing her fist triplet litter, she reared another triplet litter to independence! This made her the record holder in terms of the total number of cubs produced, together with Gorda, the former alpha female of the Shamba clan.