DENVER (CBS4) – The Denver Zoo this week received three spotted hyena cubs that will help promote the species’ healthy breeding.

Kelele, a male, was born on June 26 and arrived from the Buffalo Zoo on Thursday. On Friday, two females born on June 11 were transferred from a private facility in Houston that specializes in the propagation of rare and endangered species.

The animals’ move to Denver was recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which develops survival plans for species. The cubs’ move to Denver will help them socialize better, too, the zoo said.

“These animals are critical to the survival of spotted hyenas in AZA-accredited zoos and we have been working to bring more hyenas to Denver Zoo for at least two years,” Hollie Colahan, the Denver Zoo’s curator of large mammals, said.

Spotted hyenas, which sport yellow-brown fur with irregular oval spots and a busy tail, are the largest of four hyena species. Adults stand nearly three feet tall at their shoulders.

The zoo said the spotted hyena is one of the most misunderstood specifies, often mistakenly considered an unintelligent scavenger. They are, however, one of the more intelligent mammals, with smarts compared to those of the great apes, the zoo said.

The cubs will undergo a month-long quarantine before visitors can view them. Kelele was named after the Swahili word for “noisy.” The two females are not named.

Spotted hyena cub (credit: Denver Zoo)

Spotted hyena cub (credit: Denver Zoo)

Spotted hyena cub (credit: Denver Zoo)

Spotted hyena cub (credit: Denver Zoo)

Spotted hyena cub (credit: Denver Zoo)

Spotted hyena cub (credit: Denver Zoo)



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