The Mysterious Nigerian Men Who Tame Wild Beasts

Meet Nigeria’s hyena boys, fearless nomadic traders working in a family business like no other. The animal handlers tame wild hyenas from a young age and have an entourage of snakes and baboons in football kits.

“I have been doing this since I was five”, says a wiry man crouching next to his hyena. “Since the animal was little, I’ve been feeding him, giving him meat and medicine.” Now the beast is tame enough to be tethered, paraded and wrestled with in public. But the hyena boys must also be tamed, fed strange medicines from infancy, and plied with snakes to be integrated into the community fuelled by the belief that they are spiritually connected to the animals.

  • Censored_often

    It might be easier to train a hyena than get a jihadist to become peaceful.

  • Linda1000

    Bizarre. Wild is wild, so I don’t think I would have quite the same blind faith in their “medicine” protection. I guess Boko Haram won’t attack their village any time soon.

  • Richard_Romano

    Then we wonder why it’s such a benighted land. So much potential, but their values hold them back.