#KNOW THE FACT

                                    IN THE WORLD OF HYENA MEN 

The wild west of Africa home to one of the world's most extraordinary street gangs a travelling circus that use an intoxicating blend of voodoo and dangerous animals to make a living. They say " not everyone can do this its magic", the way of life they are living that is both fascinating and shocking. Hyena's are seen "hugging" their trainers and sitting on commands as baboons wearing football shirts take money from onlookers in wild animal shows in Nigeria. Who are these people and how did they live so close to such dangerous animals. Lets explore the world's of "Hyena Men".

Nigeria the most populated country of Africa, here half of the 140 million people live in the abject poverty. Its all start from Lagos -Nigeria most infamous city, traffic gridlocks the street and 2 out of 3 people live in slums. Hyena men are constantly on the move and it is very difficult to find them. We are going to scholar this most fascinating gang, along with the Hyena's tied with the ground with heavy chains, gang members charm sacks full of venomous snakes, they were also a dozen of baboons tied with the chains. At the back of the market in the slums with animals and garbage they made their living possible without drinking clean water and accessing electricity that's why some peoples called this place "a land of no tomorrow". Hyena men are Muslims from the northern rural farmlands in Nigeria. They said to practice voodoo and use ancient magic to make wild animals under their control, its rumored that they have supernatural powers and some people even believe they are part Hyena, they all inherited these tricks from their forefathers. Many locals are spellbound by the performance believing that Hyena's men possess some supernatural powers.

Some African newspaper have made allegations that these men are bank robbers, debt collectors and drug dealers but in truth no one really knows, but one thing is certain that no one messes with a men having Hyena. The savagery of the performances make uncomfortable to viewing the show, although this form of entertainment is fully legal in Nigeria, many outsiders say this urban circus should be outlawed for cruelty to animals. Baboons are trained in such a way that they even handle their enemy venomous snake very comfortably, they trained them in such a way that when you look at them you think they are human. This practice has been going on for generations and for veterans like Bara[Hyena trainer] its the only life he's ever known.

Barau [Hyena Trainer] -He said  I have been doing this for 50 years and i was nine year old when I started all this stuff, even they bite us it doesn't hurt, we have also got magic potions that would take to give us power I can even put my head in their mouth whatever play i want to do with these animals I can do.

Yahay[Snake Master]-Because of the wild animals we use like the snakes and everything else we touch people can see that they don't hurt us.

People on the street pay the Hyena men generously for traditional medicines, amulets and home made voodoo charms, many Nigerians still lives in the fear of witches and evil spirit and believe that the men's potion will be effective in warden them off. After 2 hours of performance on the street roughly 40 pounds have passed through the hands of the baboons into the pockets of Hyena men. The Hyena men spend about half the year travelling and performing across the whole Nigeria and rest is spent in livings with their families in the villages and township in the north. Children some still crawling are being taught to handle snakes by their mothers "we have fed them with magic potions to give them immunity from venom and make them fearless from all these animals, this is what we have got from our forefathers and our children are going to inherit it and do the same tradition". 

The Hyena men have a complex relationship with their animals that's not unlike that of an extend family. The local doctor regularly visit to check on health of the hyenas and baboons as well as give them their yearly vaccination against rabbies, "vaccination is very important, why we do this when the hyena by mistake bites the owner yes in the course of event the person is protected and then when he bites the onlooker in the course of play the person beaten is protected and yes the other dogs, hyena or any else bites the hyena then hyena is also protected with the help of this vaccine". Its seems as long as their animals have up to date vaccinations certificates the government will issue a license that allow the hyena men to perform with their animals in public. 

The hyena men have a controversial relationship with their animals, when  questioned whether what they do is morally acceptable they defend their way of life these animals they say are their only means of survival.   

                                                                                                                      DATE : 1 FEB 2021


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