When we think about adaptability, resilience, and compromise, we generally think of humans. I mean, we’ve managed to reach our evolutionary stage by displaying incredible amounts of those three qualities. But that doesn’t in any way mean that they’re particular to us. Plenty of other animals in the wild happen to possess them.
For example, surprising scientists with its first time occurrence, wolves and hyenas cooperate to survive in Negev Desert. The team that observed them isn’t sure if it’s a natural occurrence, but it’s definitely the first time the behavior is observed. This might just open some new research paths to future study.
A desert and semi-desert region in southern Israel, the Negev Desert covers more than half the country (about 55% of the country’s land area). Full of rocky, dusty mountains, dry riverbeds and deep craters, living here is an extremely challenging effort.
A very arid environment, the Negev Desert only receives an average of 31 millimeters of rainfall a year due to its position east of Sahara. It is generally associated with extreme temperatures, and with the changes brought by climate change, the place is seeing even less water and life.
Hyenas versus wolves
Generally unaccepting of other animals, hyenas and wolves are pack creatures. They live in packs in order to hunt better, and neither of them is known to step down from a challenge. Wolves take down animals much larger then themselves thanks to their great teamwork, while hyenas are known to be reckless enough to take on lions by themselves.
While wolves are definitely the better hunters, hyenas are much better trackers, having a far superior sense of smell. It helps them find carrion from miles away, and even though they aren’t the best hunters, they adapt easily. Wolves meanwhile are some of the most efficient hunters in nature.
Setting aside differences
Like I said before, neither of the two groups is known particularly for their cooperation with animals outside their species. But drastic times call for drastic measures, as for the time in history a group of wolves was observed cooperating with hyenas.
While tracks suggesting this were found four years ago, it was only now that this strange behavior has actually been observed. The harsh conditions and lack of food has driven the animals to form mixed packs, with a hyena or two for tracking and wolves for hunting.
This is one of the best examples of how animals are more than meets the eye. Especially for apex predators such as wolves, adaptability is a key factor for survival. If they weren’t able to adapt and survive in even the harshest of environments, they never would have reached their current food chain position.
Image source: DeviantArt