The Mysterious Animal Gangs Of Nigeria | Hyena Men | Real Wild

Source:- Real Wild An intriguing film that unravels the myth of Nigeria’s Hyena People, who arrive in towns wrapped in rock pythons, with hyenas in chains and with trained monkeys turning somersaults. Some believe that they are part animal and possess magical powers. The reality is that they are travelling minstrels earning money by performing with animals. This examines the clash between the urban and the wild, and the paradoxical relationship that the handlers have with their animals – sometimes loving, sometimes brutal and cruel.

Mar 6, 2021 - 11:17
Mar 6, 2021 - 11:18

the wild west of Africa home to one of the world's most extraordinary street gangs a travelling circus that uses an the intoxicating blend of Voodoo and dangerous animals to make a living not to do this it's magic for the first time this bizarre urban tribe has given access to film revealing a way of life that is both fascinating and shocking my speciality is problems, I trained them in such a way that when you look at them you think they're humans we did beneath the surface of this wild world that appears dangerous there to control and explore the myths that surround these enigmatic people and their trip of Bourbonnais snakes and tagging us behind the spectacle we discover a close-knit family that has the unique and controversial relationship with their animals steeped in magic and a tradition this is what we heard from our forefathers our children here are going to inherit the same issues but who are these people and how do they live so close to such dangerous animals even when animals called us or bite us it doesn't hurt why are these shocking rituals allowed to continue and what do they tell us about human-animal relations and 21st century Africa

Welcome to the world of the hyena men Nigeria a waste African country tarnished with a violent history of military dictatorships corruption and fraud, it's Africa's most densely populated, country and over half of its 140 million, people live in abject poverty, our journey begins in the cloaked heart, of Lagos Nigeria is the most infamous city, traffic gridlocks the streets and 2 out, of 3 people live in slums it's in the thick of Legos that were hoping to meet the Hyneman the last thing we heard from our local contacts is that they are living at the back of this market but we've been warned they're constantly on the move and notoriously difficult to find we arrived to find the gang have made a temporary home in the squalor of this rubbish dome living with a hyena man are the animals they've caught from the wild and brought to the city to perform in their Street circus. 

along with hyenas tied to the ground with heavy Chin's gang-members charm sack fools of venomous and constricting snakes we also discover a trip of a dozen or so bobbins conditions are bad for the animals but they're equally bad for the people that live here virtually no one has access to drinking water electricity and we still it's why some people have called this place the land of new tomorrow the hyena men our hosts are Muslims from the rural farmlands in northern Nigeria they are said to practise voodoo and use ancient magic to bring wild animals under their control it's rumoured they have supernatural powers and some people even believe they are part hyena, huzi is the boss of the hyena world more nurse and ie now you got doing me this thing we didn't I have inherited from my forefathers in IE in our side a super camera in our kingdom.

I catch this animal and play with them entertained them we also sell them to zoos I catch these animals myself we go into the bush to get these angles and then we bring them out people are astonished these are not animals are laid with humans naturally when people see them they are amazed God has given us the powers to stop them humming anybody this is how a living. we learn the hyena men are preparing to take their show out onto the streets of a zone in Lagos called male 12 and have been told by Poirot the senior hyena handler to be wary of the area boys notoriously cause street gangs who protect their turf acting as vigilantes and using violence to extort money  that's one go around if they harass us we are ready for them even if they bring knives would chase them with our animals to the drop that knives,

some African newspapers have made allegations that these men are bank robbers debt collectors and drug dealers but in truth, no one really knows one thing is certain no one messes with a man with a hyena the savagery of the performance makes uncomfortable viewing although this form of entertainment is fully legal in Nigeria their parent REIT ability of this unique street act challenges Western taboos many outsiders see this urban circus should be outlawed for cruelty to animals to head baboon keeper Abdullah he has trained his performers to act out behaviours that run against every natural instinct he's even taught baboons to handle their most feared enemy in the wild venomous snakes

I'm gonna need a monetizable in an hour my specialities the baboons was on my train on what that to them named country waited when you look at them that's a tight you think they're human a welcome

this practice has been going on for generations and for veterans like burrow it's the only life he's ever known I've been doing this for 50 years I was nine years old when I started we used plants they would drink the give us power and even when I must hold us all bite us it doesn't hurt we've also got magic potions that would take to give us power I can even put my head in that mouth whatever plate I want to do these animals I can do many locals are spellbound by the performance believing the Hyneman possess supernatural powers because of the wild animals that we use like the snakes and everything else we touch people can't see that they don't hurt us give them the believers truthfully we have traditional medicine practitioners and if anyone comes to ask what a problem we give them Metz it by the grace of God,

the Metin will work for them just as they want people on the street pay the high enema and generously for traditional medicines amulets and home aids voodoo charms many Nigerians still live in fear of witches and evil spirits and believe the mains potions will be effective in warden Lamaze after two hours parading the streets about 10000 naira roughly 40 pounds have passed through the hands of the baboon's into the pockets of the Hyneman, not a bad days work by Nigerian standards the hyena men spend about half the year travelling and performing across the whole of Nigeria the rest is spent living with their families in the villages and townships of the north.

most of the men are married with young children and it seems everyone down to the toddlers has a part to play in the business of performing with animals a hyena handler burrows house snakes are at the centre of everyone's attention.

burrows children some still crawling are being taught to handle snakes by their mothers we have fed them magic potions to give them immunity from the venom.

I stood in some children are given hello mixtures the meaning that delivered we wash them with a mixture and give it to them to drink so that by the time they grow up they are not scared of snakes or he kills them of any fear for life we sell the herbal medicines which sell all types from the type that will only give to children to traditional medicines for adults we provide traditional medicines for all ailments snake bites and scorpion bites we have protection against wizards and witches and also for poison we've got them all here this is what we hear it from our forefathers were brought up seen our parents doing it this is the work we do to sustain ourselves our children here are going to inherit it and do the same tradition ah has a who's recently been appointed the head of the Heian Amir is visiting his family home in Katsina in the far north of Nigeria he's told us that he's got fingers in many pies as well as running the animal circus he's also involved in organized street fighting as well as managing these extreme performers who do extraordinary things with knives and nails has a is taking us to meet his extended family houses dad is revered as the Godfather the business that's been going on in Nigeria for generations and generations modern Ella do Serengeti my name is Elijah Amato nalada district head of godî in Katina tol a Shakira I am 20 x for an adult n you can see any man performing with an animal in Nigeria then they were trained by me -

Munna like then what you do come more one now we go out to greet people with snakes like this one but we cut and put in our pocket like this as the most respected elder of the hyena men a  has the authority to allow us to see some of their secret potions one know this here is a snake charmer and the other one is also for snakes come wait you can catch snakes look like the one a heart Elliot if you rob these on you you can eat this one the hyena men have a complex relationship with their animals that's not unlike that of an extended family Abdullahi muhammad regularly performs on the streets and appears to have a genuine affection for his animals every day in our da it understands how to entertain that's why I call it a new caucus

it has the brain to entertain there's indie enough to call the meta Indian a Vida slam its attitude's like that of the Indian art and I like my job because that's what I grew up with I grew up my parent's grandparents and brothers were doing the same thing so you know I can't leave what my people do I've earned a living from this got married from this I've made a home from this when making all that I have has come from this we're told that dr. Abraham the local vet is coming to pay a visit to check on the health of the hyenas and baboons as well as give them their yearly vaccination against rabies vaccination is very important why we do this is so that when the hyena by mistake bites either the owner yes in the course of the event that the person is protected and then when he bites an onlooker in the Casa plea the person bit is protected yes and then when another rabid dog ohana bites the vaccinated hyena the Hina is protected the presence of a fully trained vet gives a bizarre legitimacy to the high in immense operation it seems as long as their animals have up-to-date vaccination certificates.

The government will issue a license that allows the hyena men to perform with their animals in public I went I see near doing and the more attention I handle the tricks of the monkey's securement in the more attached were licensed by the federal government to perform with this animals our licenses in Vegas but it covers our stupor fill in the whole of Nigeria back in Lagos burrow the senior hyena handler is leading us down the back alleys of mile 12 it's feeding time for the hyenas and we're heading to buy meat at the abattoir.

this goat meat is normally reserved for human consumption someone comes to see us entertainment the cedar the animals are initiated you might think that I'm not taking good care of cheating animals because of this I got an announcement so people are amazed that I give this sort of food to the animals.

Moreau says the hyenas are feared every other day to his mind we have a good life and is puzzled when asked whether it might be wrong to be keeping hyenas in the urban chaos of the Lagos slums come on I mean like it's not a good thing but it's a good thing in our eyes because of a high night in the flesh let us go along to the caves and put logs of wood in the highness dance pouring petrol light it up and kill them we'll catch them and we'll bring them into the city and give them food and drink and we use them to get our own food you see with us we eat this is better than the life they have in a bush hyenas are formidable predators equipped with a powerful jaw razor-sharp teeth are designed for cutting flesh and pulverizing boy but the hyena men believe they have the upper hand we have absolute faith that their magic concoctions derived from a secret mix of plants and animal parts enable them to control and subdue their star performers .

when we go to get these animals we use magic potions before we go to the caves we can acquire portions to the animals to make porn harmless to people and adapted there's something you give the animals when we're training them that makes them listen to us and understand everything that we say in whatever language we use not everyone can do this it's magic if I'm close to you I can teach you some of the magic but I won't tell you what the small sliver am oh yeah.

although the men have complete trust in their animal magic the hyena men are not immune to injury from their wild pets the baboons they keep are highly intelligent and are renowned for their ferocity and lethal bite threatening opponents with their long fangs and sharp claws Abdullah he who bears the scars from his years of training baboons you come on like in the NASA machine I wanna believe me I got these scars from a baboon it had a temper of a wild animal but only I could play with it as it is whatever you do even when we go to capture these animals whatever we do we almost combined with our belief in God and we ask that he makes it possible and it brings us back safely it's Friday morning and Al has a boss of the Hyneman and Abdullah he the senior baboon trainer are on their way to offer prayers at the local mosque they go to the mosque on Friday I don't miss the most to do all five prayers every day as we arrive we're told that our camera is not welcome we leave our has a and Abdullahi to attend the mosque on their own but later we're allowed to film one of our houses boxers who also performs with baboons receiving blessings from a holy man tonight there's a big fight and boxer Lavazza is seeking God's protection

as the hyena man's leader ah has a is heavily involved in organized street fights and promotes several boxers like Laval Muazzam who travel the length and breadth of Nigeria with the Hyneman it's a notoriously violent backstreet sport and Al has a has invited us to join him at tonight's fight Oh Denby as is called in Xhosa new manager on a machine I have boys the participating guys I almost have a strong man so everywhere we go you were always with them

after offering prayers to Allah la boum wahzoo uses black magic to give him extra powers in the fight he hangs protective amulets around his neck as well as using a razor blade to cut his arm to administer magic potions before you go into a fight exactly make sure that you mix the potions with your blood in the cart and apply them wrapped inside the fighters fist our animal skins bird feathers and voodoo charms don't cool there are instances when you have to put your hand inside agreed and buried for about a week and there are occasions when you have to get a lot of traditional medicine some make use of broken bottles some you snake venom some use a snake toys and then mix it all up and rub it in their hands so Anna strike a hard blow at someone who dies [Applause]

there are few rules to this brittle game fighters have three rounds to knock their opponents to the ground but if they're evenly matched the contest can last for hours

you can only punch with one hand the fist is boned in flax wetted and then covered in sand to give extra sting to the punch the other hand is used for defense as well as to trip and taunt the idea is to tempt your opponent to make a false move before delivering the knockout punch sometimes people die even if they don't die that get hurt in such a way where they go back and die at home some other ones get injured and get ill and die gradually there are some that died there on the spot one of our has a boxers called us Mallya his nicknames the hyena for his fierce fighting and the scars on his face that his fellow travelers say look like the hide of a spotted hyena when I was a small boy hot scalding water of my face and this is Harper fighting ever since sigh hug my face to Swit I shout the dish wife can be heat but nothing happens to it my company goes I'm always fighting always fight like the Hyneman it seems that this is a world you're born into and that you don't question most of the boxers feel they've no choice they're lifers back street fighters they say has been chosen by God that's all one novel you know fighting is my destiny

we're apparently the next day because the gang are leaving Lagos and heading 400 miles north to the remote island forests to catch wild animals and replenish their stock seeing a baboon clamber onto a clapped-out minibus it's apparent that the hyena's monkeys snakes and men are going to squash him and travel together to these guys there's nothing unusual about having a 180 pound hyena sitting on your lap as a travel companion less than a hundred yards into the journey there's a problem it's a gang of area boys we block the road and are refusing to let the Hyneman pass until they've paid them this kind of intimidation is a daily occurrence in Lagos and not even the streetwise hyena men are immune from it dogs that have got no conscience meet them and they try to start a fight with us we're always ready because we're not afraid after a few judicious backhanders the hyena men are allowed to go on their way leaving Lagos the men and their menagerie of animals head north to the country side

a 20-hour road trip that takes them through some of Nigeria's purest regions at least 70 million people half Nigeria's population live in abject poverty and have no access to clean water despite the fact that historically the government and military have extorted billions of dollars from the rich supplies of the country's oil ah has a has organized a dozen or so motorbikes to take his main on the first leg of a hunting trip deep into the wilds of northern Nigeria they're heading into the bush to catch animals to sell to Nigerian zoos and private collectors as well as to use in their own performances before entering the bush the hyena men stopped to buy flashlights they'll need these to illuminate the pitch-black cave systems where the hyenas live we're told that they'll be specifically targeting hyena Danes as it's here they're most likely to catch hyena pups which are worth as much as 450 dollars a piece as well as being the most suitable age for training the hyena men have reached the end of the road and left their motorbikes as from now on vehicle access is impossible they stopped at a small heritage settlement to rest eat bush meat and catch up on news from local hunters who know the caves where the hyenas Den like the back of their hand [Music] the men are certain that hyenas are close because they've recently eaten several of the local herring family sheep and cows as far as this community who rely completely on their livestock for their livelihood is concerned the presence of the hyena man is welcome

arrow hands the hunting party magic charms leather sachets that hold a secret recipe of planets bird feathers and animal parts with this charm you'll be protected from welcome if a lion Ohana or any wild animal comes close to you it will run away because of the smell no the hyena men are on foot they're being led by two local bush meat hunters villa for weeks at a time in this wilderness often on their own hunting monkeys deer lizards and snakes a six mile hike to base camp takes the party deep into an almost pristine forest on the journey we pass men who spend their lives working in the blistering heat hauling out 300-pound Timbers probably illegally and likely destined for trade in the West the hyena man arrived at base camp and will settle here for the night there are 400 miles from where we first met when when the dump in Lagos they're now in their traditional northern Nigerian homeland for hundreds of years these men's forefathers have come into the wilds to hunt for bush meat to eat or to catch animals for performing on waste these peoples way of life is universally condemned but in Nigeria when you live hand-to-mouth and have to hunt to survive Western values don't even come into question oh no Wendy guy you see this cone this cone you are looking at a fact for 18 years that time of killed countless Anthony Gazoo hedgehog I'm still for my life I don't know how much longer I'll be able to carry on carry on as long as I can early next morning the hyena man erupted for the hunt burro is back in his bag of magic potions he insists will not only make him invincible but also invisible to hyenas [Music] at the caves the hyena men burn incense to ward off bad spirits as well as to give them supernatural powers for hunting [Music] they prepare wire nooses that they'll use to slip around the neck of hyenas to constrain them [Music] [Applause] the coroner female hyena will readily kill to defend her pots but Abdullah he has complete faith that his magic charms and potions will protect the men from being attacked by movement embattled Carew in Oaxaca okay if you're not well protected with a magic potion then you wouldn't even dream of coming here see you Gus I will not attack it's so dark here you have to use a stock flash before you can get to where there the hyena men have split into two groups one is hunting for low ground while the other scurry the rocks above looking for signs and tracks that may lead them to the entrance of a hyenas den but suddenly there's a very big problem a hive of African bees has been disturbed by the hunting party and now they're starting to swarm progressively defending their territory five times less than Jay as African bee swarms can be fatal to humans those above ground are forced to evacuate the area it's simply too risky to stay here but near Camp Abdullah, he has seen something it's obviously not how you know but they think it could be large corpora that have taken cover in the crack of this rock

Terry got the towel what is it what the tell of what but still not monitored is that cool what is that what are you gonna do with it.  oh it's it no it appears that after the best part of two days hunting in the bush the sum total of the hyena man's effort is a tenant's lizard but everyone seems happy as this kind of lizard is a real delicacy in this part of the world only when we returned to Burroughs village do we discover that the hyena man has stayed searching in the caves when the bees arrived had better luck

they've caught a three-month-old hyena and the head of the hyena manner has a is very pleased Michigan is angry she is so they went into a hole and sort inside next, they drove the mother way I took the baby what is that considered snow get a phone or $50 from the zoo you also get people that want to fight to keep us such people can afford to pay much more than the former $50

one many of the and common name months I happened to get a baby Heine like this one that is between two to three months then we keep feed and continue to surround it with the smell of incense from the traditional method so as to allow its sense of smell to get used to the smell of people disease our denied my room with time to hypnotizing so we can forget about its life I didn't wanna wash I have in China the process of hypnotizing incense and feeding it will continue to be about three to four months before training begins properly but then it stronger not about it and all the memory tasks of its mother are entirely gone continue with its training, at All Hazards house, we find more recently caught animals fresh from the wild here they'll be trained to perform in the city one of the Heineman shows a baby baboon being introduced to a caisson for the first time it still shows its innate terror of snakes.  but in a year's time, this baboon will be turning somersaults and handling snakes. performing to crowds on the streets of Lagos the hyena men have a controversial relationship with their animals when questioned whether what they do is morally acceptable.

they defend their way of life. these animals they say are their only means of survival. we Canada wanna naive the mana now if I help my children, here have three girls and three boys and  before I go away make sure no matter how little or how much money I have I live enough to sustain my family now one tell attendee burden thank you so on because you see I can't bear to see my family suffer aware then I eat drinks and sustain me with this plant in Alabama a God has given me this, I may not be worthy

the rituals of the Hyneman go back hundreds of years but the future is less certain a has the leader of the performers thinks there may come a time when he's forced to bring an end to his operation yeah in the days of our parent's people were ruled there were no police or the like we were free to do as you wish. she's a key but now the leaders are almost taken it turns to rule any one of them who's rootless can take power by Iman you get away I got a mite one and zero is okay Barney Millican is there how one name by Iman you get every time someone might come into power and decide he does not want to see animals Roma Street well that's a Hannah was about to assume de domine is you have no option but to stop audacity never ammonia hose did she buy a sue that is what I'm thinking all the time look already dating Island any Coquina.

whether the Nigerian government and pressure from the outside world will force this brutal business to end or whether this extraordinary tradition steeped in magic and religion will continue for years to come only time will tell

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