Before last week, I hadn’t really come across the concept of countries giving each other hyenas as gifts. But it seems animal diplomacy is an actual thing.

Diplo, an international nonprofit organisation that specialises in capacity development and research in the field of digital diplomacy, even has an entry for animal diplomacy. It tells us that “animals were frequent diplomatic gifts throughout history. Pandas, elephants, lions, falcons and horses have been used as symbols of goodwill between countries. An early example of ‘animal diplomacy’ could be traced back to the Chinese Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). They used to give pandas to foreign rulers as a diplomatic gesture. However, giving animals as gifts started losing traction due to concerns over animal welfare.”..

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