Alloparenting by Helpers in Striped Hyena (Hyaena hyaena)

Ezra Hadad, Amir Balaban, Reuven Yosef

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In an ongoing study of the striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena), we observed that in the nine different females, alloparenting by the daughters of a previous litter was not uncommon and occurred on fifteen different occasions, twice with two helpers. Alloparenting persisted from when the cubs are approximately a month old until they reach the age when they go out foraging with their mothers at 10–12 months. Helpers perform most maternal duties, except suckling, even in the mother’s presence. Helpers accrued indirect fitness and practiced parenting before reaching sexual maturity. Future studies must study the reproductive biology of the striped hyena in the wild throughout its geographic range to elucidate additional breeding properties that have not yet been identified. The continued persecution of striped hyenas and the lack of information about their breeding rituals and capabilities in the wild mean that this study of their different reproduction strategies, focusing on surrogate mothers, is of great conservation importance. The fact that we have found cooperative breeding in this solitary species suggests that there is much more to uncover of the enigmatic striped hyena in the wild.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1914
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2023


  • Hyaena hyaena
  • alloparenting
  • cooperative breeding
  • helpers
  • striped hyena

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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