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News for Upcoming Title, The Hyena Scientist


Summer vacation may be coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean everyone’s been relaxing for the last few months. Scientists in the Field author Sy Montgomery and photographer Nic Bishop have been hard at work on The Hyena Scientist, a new installment for SITF that hits stores in April 2018. (Yes, it can take over a year to write and research a SITF book!)

Can’t wait that long to hear about Sy and Nic’s adventures learning about the work of Dr. Kay Holekamp, the hyena scientist herself? Neither can we! That’s why we were thrilled when Sy forwarded this blog post with some photos and an interview about their time in Kenya. Notes From Kenya: MSU Hyena Research is the blog for Dr. Holekamp’s Mara Hyena Project, where she and some of her students at Michigan State University have been studying Hyenas for years. Sy and Nic spent part of May at the Fisi Camp in Kenya, learning about Dr. Holekamp’s research and observing some hyenas for themselves!

Amy Fontaine, a research assistant on the Mara Hyena Project, is as excited about Sy and Nic’s forthcoming book as we are, writing “As a kid, I grew up devouring any books I could find about animals.” (Sound familiar?) She interviewed Sy and Nic about what inspired them to work on The Hyena Scientist, and Sy points out that some things Dr. Holekamp has “discovered about hyenas totally transformed the way we look at these animals. And that’s one of the things we hope to do when our book comes out, is to show people what gorgeous, intelligent, caring animals hyenas are, not skulking, cowardly scavengers!”

Nic, aside from pointing out that hyenas are actually pretty cute, gives readers a glimpse of the amazing photos of Masai Mara they’ll get to see in the book: “Masai Mara…is a beautiful landscape with huge sweeps of plains and amazing thunderstorms coming over, so from a photographer’s view it’s just a great animal and a great location.”

Of course, it’s not all cuddly animals and amazing scenery—Sy had a darted hyena wake up in her lap in the back of a van, among other adventures! Make sure to mark your calendars for The Hyena Scientist, publishing in April 2018, so you don’t miss out on the action. In the meantime, keep up to date with Dr. Holekamp’s research here to learn about the amazing animal that inspired Sy and Nic.

by Harriet Low

Recent Notes: