Liz Bonnin and male Spotted Hyena in South African wildlife refuge. Look closely, Liz is the one in the cage. The hyena is captive but not tamed or a pet, and much like wolves, they’re not ill-tempered or especially aggressive toward humans, although opportunistic attacks do occur. In this situation, Liz is in little danger.

Spotted Hyenas aren’t canines, but members of the Carnivora sub-order Feliforma. They are not closely related to cats, but are considered “cat-like” carnivores.

Sadly, these remarkable animals have been reviled by popular media, and most people hold negative and inaccurate views of them. They are apex predators, and in the top-ranks of intelligence of all animals, rivalling primates in some tests. This is also parallels wolves, who were once vilified as mean, ugly, stupid and useless.