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Hyenas seem to have a good laugh while playing in pond at Denver Zoo

DENVER — Three young hyenas at the Denver Zoo seemed to be having a good laugh while splashing around in a pond in their enclosure.

The three spotted hyenas came to the zoo as cubs in 2014.

They are sometimes called laughing hyenas because of the unusual cackle that is unique to spotted hyenas.

They are also among the most intelligent mammals in the world, according to ongoing research.

The experts compare the intelligence of spotted hyenas to that of great apes, one of the closest relatives to humans.

They are mostly found in the grasslands of sub-Saharan Africa. The International Union for Conservation of Nature says their populations in the wild are generally stable.

But the group points out their numbers show a bit of decline because of hunting, trapping and poisoning.