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THE HYENA MEN OF NIGERIA

The Hyena Men of Nigeria (AKA the Gadawan Kura in Hausa) is an itinerant group of individuals who make a living by giving daring performances in front of a live audience which appreciates their craft by giving them money at the end of each performance.

By Pieter Hugo

The performances by the Gadawan Kura involve playing and grappling with dangerous wild animals especially spotted hyenas, wild baboons and rock pythons! These men are believed to possess powerful potions and charms which prevent the animals from inflicting life-threatening harm or injury to their masters and owners.

By Pieter Hugo

The men’s children have also been trained to handle these dangerous animals so they do not fear them. Even the little ones as young as 5 or 6 years old are frequently seen dangerously close to the wild beasts. The men capture these animals at a very young age and raise them to be submissive and obedient to their masters.

By Pieter Hugo

This has sparked some outrage, controversies and negative criticism from several animal rights groups in the international community who say that these animals belong in the wild but this has done little to deter the Gadawan Kura from continuing their performances with these animals. For them, these animals are practically family and would not be mistreated in any way; and because the animals have known no other life apart from a relatively-domesticated one with their owners and masters, they depend on them for their daily meals.

By Pieter Hugo

This symbiotic relationship which exists between the Hyena Men and the animals helps to ensure the survival of both parties in the world today. Because of the itinerant nature of the Gadawan Kura, they never spend more than two days in one particular place. This nomadic behaviour has helped them to gained popularity all across Nigeria.

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