Out in Palm Springs, California is the lovely Living Desert Zoo and Gardens which focuses on presenting the flora and fauna of desert regions from around the world. This striped hyena became fascinated with me and our eyes connected and we had a moment. Although the photo isn’t particularly lovely, the connection was magical. She came up to the glass and rolled around at my feet. She made some low throaty sounds and I gurgled back at her and we had fun with each other in that moment. Her mate came by chased her away, and they ran off together. But for a few moments, it was just she and I. I never thought about hyenas being lovely, smart, fun, happy creatures before this day.
If you are ever in the Palm Springs area, I highly recommend taking a stroll through the Living Desert. It’s a beautiful place with a lot of interesting animals, plants, and a really really big model railroad! http://www.livingdesert.org/