It’s a boy! Baby hyena at Hattiesburg Zoo is male

Hattiesburg Zoo reveals baby hyena cub's gender, name Saturday morning
Published: Jan. 14, 2023 at 3:40 PM CST
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg Zoo revealed the gender of its three-month-old hyena cub Saturday and announced its name.

Zoo staff say the cub is a male and he’s been named “Kito.”

“Kito” means “precious child” in the Swahili language.

The Hattiesburg Zoo revelated Saturday gender and name of its baby hyena
The Hattiesburg Zoo revelated Saturday gender and name of its baby hyena(Charles Herrington/WDAM 7)

Kito was born at the Hattiesburg Zoo on Oct. 17.

“This is the only surviving SSP (Species Survival Program) hyena birth in the country this year, so it’s a really big deal for us,” said Kristen Moore, Hattiesburg Zoo animal curator. “It’s a really big deal for the population, we’re just super excited to be a part of it.”

Zoo staff had to run genetic tests to determine the cub’s gender.

Blood work was sent off six weeks ago and results were sent back this week.

“It takes a little while for us to figure out if it’s a male or female, because they look pretty much identical when they’re born, so we have to do some genetic testing,” Moore said.

Kito’s mother is named “Pili” and the father is “Niru.”

Niru came to the Hattiesburg Zoo in 2021 from a zoo in New Jersey. Pili joined him a few months later.

She came from a zoo in New Mexico.

Pili helped reveal Kito’s gender Saturday morning by pulling on a paper rope to open a pink and blue box which was suspended over the Zoo’s hyena habitat.

Blue biodegradable and animal-friendly confetti then poured out of the box as zoo staff around the habitat cheered.

Chicken was used as bait to encourage Pili to bite the rope and open the box.

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