My Best Friend, Themba The Hyena

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Meet the 16-year-old school boy who is so close with his 14 stone pet HYENA that they kiss, cuddle and even eat together. Living in Africa means that this schoolboy of British descent has taken on a hyena as a pet rather than the puppy dog he might have got if his dad had stayed in Oxfordshire. Teenage animal trainer, Shandor Larenty, son of British lion wrangler, Alex Larenty from the Lion Park near Johannesburg, South Africa is such a chip off the old block that he was training juvenile lions from the age of eleven, and has now progressed to hyenas and cheetahs. But Shandor is closest with his best-friend, Thender the 18-month-old spotted hyena -- who will eat out of Shandor's mouth and even let him clean his teeth afterwards. Thender was rejected by his mother, so Shandor's dad, Alex agreed to take him in to live with four other hyenas at his lion park. In the wild they eat animals as large as wildebeest - and are ruthless scavengers known to chase even the king of the jungle, the lion, away from his meals.

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