The major reasons for the apparent decline include persecution (especially poisoning), decreasing natural and domestic sources of carrion due to declines in the populations of other large carnivores (wolf, cheetah, leopard, lion, tiger) and their prey, and changes in livestock practices (Hofer 1998). Humans are consistently indicated as the major source of mortality throughout the evaluated range, largely because the hyaena is loathed as a grave robber, and because of incidents of damage to agriculture (e.g. in Israel) and livestock (Hofer 1998; Wagner in press). Striped Hyaena are very susceptible to accidental or targeted poisoning as it readily accepts strychnine-poisoned bait. For example, along the Mediterranean coast in Israel, the Striped Hyaena was exterminated by strychnine poisoning during the rabies eradication campaign administered by the British government between 1918 and 1948. The Striped Hyaenas ate poisoned donkey carcasses that were provided to control golden jackals, then the main carrier of rabies. Further large-scale poisoning occurred between 1950 and 1970 (Hofer 1998). In the Palmyra area in Syria, the species is heavily persecuted (including destruction or blockage of dens, poisoning carcasses, or the use of the fire to chase animals out of dens). There is also illegal trade in skins, and body parts for use in traditional medicine (as there is elsewhere in the range), and they are often kept in cages for display purposes (G. Serra pers. comm.). The species is commercially hunted in Morocco for use in traditional medicine, with various parts being used (especially the brain) and may fetch very high prices. Hunters may travel hundreds of kilometres to capture this species (F. Cuzin pers. comm. 2007).
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