Hugo describes how he was drawn into the strange world of Nigeria's hyena men in a brief and compelling essay, here.
In Abuja we found them living on the periphery of the city in a shantytown - a group of men, a little girl, three hyenas, four monkeys and a few rock pythons. It turned out that they were a group of itinerant minstrels, performers who used the animals to entertain crowds and sell traditional medicines. The animal handlers were all related to each other and were practising a tradition passed down from generation to generation. I spent eight days travelling with them.
- Pieter Hugo
I met a hyena man in Harar, Ethiopia while I was traveling there. He sat in the dark every night with a bucket of donkey meat, waiting for the hyenas to emerge from the bush to feed. They approached him gingerly and snarled as he tossed scraps at their feet. The hyena man knew them all by name, and they knew him. After a few minutes, they forgot to be coy - they grew bold and snatched meat from the mouth of the hyena man. When they had their fill, they disappeared back into the darkness, their eyes wide and glowing.