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4Hungarian Agricultural Research 2010/4
News about the dangers and
damages caused by golden jackal
are becomign more frequent, they
are almost common place now-
adays. Most of theese deal with
problems in game management and
hunting, but the number of injured
person in agricultural the sector is
also increasing. More and more
farmers complain of attack of
golden jackal against livestock.
Most of these news talk about,
that:
"Jackal attacks againt livestock
started about 6 years ago, and
it’s getting worse and worse
from year to year… "
"250 sheeps were killed by
golden jackal … farmers are
terrifying”
"The golden jackal decimates
sheep populations in Somogy
county. Some farmers are in
dispair. They plan to half their
flock.”
"His dogs chase away red fox,
but they are afraid of jackals.
He thinks that he cannot protect
sheep from jackals.”
"Jackals murdered in Somogy
county”
It is very exasperating that some
of the professional media published
the following: "…all that glitters is
not gold – "jackal-crime” in
Somogy county”
To the contrary one of the latest
news reports states that "Not
jackals killed sheep at all (It’s
unimaginable that jackal can cause
such destruction was written in
news earlier…)”.
To finish the stgring of events,
an extraordinary news item was
published: A lame jackal was
received into a flock recently in
Baranya county…
In this paper our aim was to
produce a real image – in contrast
to boulevard news with a lack of
any professional knowledge –
based on results of the last decade
study in Hungary paralell to
international issues. We’d like to
show the life style of the jackal,
focused on it’s feeding habit.
Finally it’s not a hidden intend to
help the reader to form an opinion
if the complaints were justified
about the damage in livestock
caused by golden jackal.
Jackals over borders…
Over the last three decades the
distribution of the jackal has
increased significantly in Europe,
particularly in the northern and
western territories of the Balkan
Peninsula and in Central Europe
especially in Hungary. In contrast,
jackals in Greece have experienced
a large-scale population decline,
becoming the rarest canid species
in the country. Causes of decline
are related to fundamental changes
in agro-pastoral activities that
taking place in the last 25–30 years
in low land Greece, reducing both
habitat and food availability. In
Israel, jackal population size has
been largely dependent on human
activity. After a poisoning cam-
paign in 1964 (which resulted in
an almost complete extermination
of jackals) a quick population
recovery was noted, thanks to the
rise in human standard of living,
increased numbers of open garbage
dumps and improper husbandry
waste disposal. The Bulgarian
jackal population experienced a
33–fold increase in range from the
early sixties to mid-eighties. The
causes of this rapid expansion
among others were reported to
planting of scattered coniferous
stands which formed very dense
impenetrable scrub, the highly
increased food base in the form of
domestic and game animal
carcasses from the state game
farms.
…and inside the borders
of Hungary
Papers and notes about golden
jackal observations and shoots are
available in extremely small
quantities in Hungary since the first
quarter of the XIX century. In
reference to these papers it can be
declared that golden jackal as a
native predator of the Carpathian-
base has been occured at all times
in a low density and in patches in
our country.
It was considered as a scarce
predator at the turn of the century,
the last known female was shot in
the eastern part of Hungary
(Derecske) in 1942. There were
only 5 official observations and
shots in the following decades, but
those were young males. As a
consequence of no breeding pairs
have been known of for
1Szent István University, Institute for Wildlife Conservation, 2103 Gödöllô, Páter Károly str 1.
2University of Kaposvár, Departement of Nature Conservation, 7400 Kaposvár, Guba Sándor str. 40.
László Szabó1, Miklós Heltai1and József Lanszki2
Jackal Versus Livestock – Is it a Real Problem?
approximately 50 years, golden
jackal was listed in the Hungarian
Red Data Book in 1989 as an
extinct species.
The main causes of its
disappearance are the high degree
land reconstructions, river controls,
changing the agricultural produc-
tion on a drastic level (hugh fields,
increased chemicals, braking
fallow lands). Due to these changes
the suitable habitat of the jackal
was decreased and disappeared.
Chasing and systematic massacre –
using illegal tools and methods – of
the predators were also conducive
to become extinct.
Observations became frequent
mainly in the southern part of
Hungary, close to the Serbian and
Croatian border in the early ’90s.
Then breeding pairs appeared in
1994. The golden jackal population
has been increasing since then,
resettling and spreading show an
exponential character (Szabó et al.
2009).
Livestock predation in the world
However, the impact of
predation varies dramatically with
region. In Africa, Australia, the
Americas, and parts of Europe and
Asia predators can be a serious
problem. In contrast, some nations
are virtually devoid of sheep
predators. Worldwide, canids—
including the domestic dog—are
responsible for the majority of
sheep deaths. Other animals that
occasionally prey on sheep include:
felines, bears, birds of prey, ravens,
feral dogs and hyenas. Sheep have
very little ability to defend them-
selves, even when compared with
other prey species kept as livestock.
Even if sheep are not directly bitten
or survive an attack, they may die
from panic or from injuries
sustained.
Jackal predation
The jackal in Europe is
distributed in small and scattered
populations, mainly along the
Mediterranean and Black Sea coast
of the Balkan Peninsula (Demeter
& Spassov 1993). Most of the
jackals were concentrated in the
eastern parts of the peninsula
mainly in Bulgaria.
Habitat conditions are usually
well indicated by the diet
composition and feeding habits of
predators. The jackal is a typical
food generalist carnivore. Its main
food source comprises of small
mammals, wild ungulates or live
stock (young and carrion), and
periodically invertebrates, birds
and fruit. Depending on food
availability, jackals may be solitary
hunters, co-operate in pairs or hunt
as groups (mainly while the parents
teach the offsprings to hunt). Jackal
can’ t run persistent like the wolf, it
is derived from its anatomy
(relatively short legs). That is why
jackal attack from ambush mainly.
On the other hand it is often
reported in boulevard news that
Hungarian Agricultural Research 2010/4 5
Picture 1:
Golden Jackal (Photo by József Lanszki)
6Hungarian Agricultural Research 2010/4
jackal can chase its prey at a speed
of 40 kilometres an hour.
In Bulgaria most of the attacks
on livestock happened in the flocks
of sheep that grazed unattended at
night in 17 pastures. In the southern
part of Bulgaria, 1,053 attacks on
small stock, mainly sheep and
lambs were recorded between
1982-87. In this case the high
predation rate is thought to be the
consequence of a jackal population
explosion due to the availability of
food in illegal garbage dumps.
Beside this, high level depredation
was helped by the lack of
preventative measures. However,
the highest damages by jackals are
minimal when compared to the
domestic animal losses by wolves.
Yom-Tov et al. (1995) give an
account of cattle predation in the
Golan Heights in Israel. App-
roximately 2% of the calves born
die due to predation, mainly by
Golden Jackals. Three-quarters of
attacks occur within 2 days after
birth. 31% of deaths occurred
during delivery or several hours
after it, 32% during the first day
after delivery and 12% during the
second day. Thirteen percent of calf
deaths occurred within 2–10 days
and 11% within 11–30 days after
delivery. A difference was found
between sexes. Male calves are
usually more likely to be attacked
than females, because they are
heavier and more difficult to
deliver. Female cattle giving birth
are sometimes attacked along with
their half born offspring. Mainly
the face and tongue of calves are
attacked during delivery, while the
calf is still partly in the womb. In
spite of that death is principally
caused by opening the posterior
part of it’s abdomen after delivery.
In some cases the mother's vaginal
area is also damaged and several
cows had to be destroyed because
of serious injuries.
In the Golan Heighs serious
predation level was found against
cattles. In all probability this
situation could have developed
because of almost unlimited food
resources for jackals. There are only
two official garbage dumps, but
more than 70 illegal dumps were
found. In several cases there were
two or three dumps near one
settlement. These dumps contain
Figure 1:
Changing of the hunting bag in Hungary 1997–2009 (source: Hungarian Game Management Database,
Gödöllô)
COUNTRY
R
2
=0,95
TRANSDA NUBIA
R
2
=0,93
EAST FROM RIVER DANUBE
R
2
=0,91
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
1997 19981999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 20082009
hunting bag
Country Transdanubia
East from river Danube
Expon. (Country)
domestic refuse, construction and
packing materials, but also
agricultural waste including fruit and
vegetable surplus and dead turkeys,
hens, calves and cows. It is likely to
helped the jackal population
increasing in this territory.
On the other hand the cattle
grazed unattended all year round
in paddocks and gave birth in the
field, so the opportunistic jackals
would learn to exploit newborn
calves.
Giannatos et al. (2005) reported
that the only area in Greece is
Peloponnese where predation by
jackals on small livestock occurred.
Damages happened in those areas
where the jackal population
occurred in marginal mountainous
habitat and the sheep and goats
grazed unattended at night. Stray
dogs and jackals are the only
predators that could prey on small
hoofed livestock, since wolves
have been eradicated. So all the
prevention measures are missing.
Nonetheless, according to local
shepherds only a very little damage
was recorded and does occur is
caused mostly by isolated roaming
individuals.
On the contrary, in areas with
high jackal densities (Mornos,
Northern Greece, Samos) the
preventive methods used at night
(keeping of sheep and goats in
enclosures, using guarding dogs).
Jackal groups or individuals have
been radio tracked or seen often
close to sheep pens, around cattle
and nearby chicken pens at night,
but no complaints for losses by the
farmers.
Strength of negligible damages
the predation on livestock by
jackals is sooner local a minimal in
Greece.
Feeding habits of the golden
jackal
Beside the observations,
shepherd’s report and questionnaire
Hungarian Agricultural Research 2010/4 7
Picture 2:
Golden Jackal (Photo by József Lanszki)
surveys it is very important to study
the feeding habit of the jackal by
scientific methods. In the next part
a few researches will be shown in
different countries and periods. The
procedure was the same: scat
analysis was used to get to know
the diet of this carnivore.
1. "Domestic problems” in three
countries-three habitat types
First, feeding habits were
compared in Hungary (temperate
climate agricultural area), Greece
(Mediterranean marshland), and
Israel (Mediterranean agricultural
area). Samples (84, 70 and 64
scats, respectively) were collected
late autumn. Large differences
were detected in the consumption
of domestic animals between the
three study areas. According to
biomass, the highest rates were
recorded in Israel (74.0%), slightly
lower in Greece (62.6%) and
substantially lower levels in
Hungary (1.4%). In Israel,
domestic animal food type was
dominated by poultry followed by
eggs, cow and cat. In Greece
jackals consumed mostly goats,
sheep, poultry, dogs (2.9%) and
cats. Cat and poultry consumption
was also detected in the Hungarian
samples.
According to the studies by
Yom-Tov et al. (1995), domestic
animals along with small mammals
were the most important dietary
components of jackals in Israel.
Small mammals were found to be a
main food source also in
Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and
Uzbekistan, India, Bangladesh
(Jaeger et al. 2007) as well as in
Tanzania close to the equator. In
the studied area of Greece with
extensive grazing and Israel with a
high density of poultry farming, the
primary foods of jackals were
human related animals, mainly goat
and poultry (respectively). While
jackals are able to hunt the young
of domestic ungulates especially
during their birth season (Stenin et
al. 1983, Yom-Tov et al. 1995) or
poultry, direct predation by jackals
on goat (grazing stocks) and
poultry was minimal in the study
areas in Greece and Israel. The
consumption of domestic animals
(excluding domestic dog and
domestic cat) cannot be at tributed
to seasonal predation, but rather to
carcasses left in the field (Greece)
and around poultry farms (Israel)
which are consequently cleared up
by the scavenging jackals (Mac-
donald 1979). Presently, grazing
and carcass dumping is
uncharacteristic in the Hungarian
study area. The results of low
domestic animal consumption in
Hungary and high in the two
Mediterranean areas are in
accordance with results from
earlier studies carried out in the
regions (Macdonald 1979, Lanszki
et al. 2006).
Variability in plant consump-
tion was detected between the
regions. Although jackals ate
plants most frequently in Israel
(olive, grape and sunflower:
41.5%), second most in Greece
(blackthorn and maize mainly:
39.0%) and the least in Hungary
(mainly Blackthorn: 28.7%).
2. Diet composition of golden
jackals during cub-rearing season
in Greek marshland
Ninety-five scat samples were
collected in Greece between
November–December 2006.
According to a biomass calculation
closer to the quantitative
composition of the consumed food,
the most important food for the
jackals was made up of two equally
important taxa. One of them is
domestic animals (35.8%, biomass
calculation), and the other is birds
(35.6%). The dominance of these
two food taxa was not typical in
other studies, especially in the cub
raising period. Only in Israel
(Yom-Tov et al. 1995) and in
Bulgaria the consumption of
domestic animals and domestic
animal remains considerable. In
Greece, the most important were
the goats among the domestic
animals, and medium-sized birds
(probably mostly waterfowl,
Anseriformes) among the birds.
Consumption of juvenile goat was
provable at least one case (by
consumed and defecated cloven
hoof), but the circumstances of this
event were unknown (no decom-
posing insect remains were found
in the scat sample). Considerable
consumption of birds was only
experienced in Azerbaijan. Jackals
are not persecuted in the study area,
and it is considered an indifferent
species by the local farmers; since
the jackal direct predation on
livestock is minimal in the area, so
the consumption of domestic
animals cannot be attributed to
predation, but to carcasses left in
the feld.
In conclusion, jackals living in
Mediterranean sandy seashore
moorlands in Greece, feed their
cubs with a diverse diet,
supporting their opportunist
feeding habits. In contrast with
most Eurasian and African studies
(review: Demeter and Spassov
1993), the consumption of
domestic ungulate corpses and
waterfowl was important, and the
consumption of smaller (less than
100g) prey and plants were
frequent, but less important in the
cub raising period.
3. Results in Hungary between 2001
and 2004
Despite others, unique result
were noted in a hungarian study in
Baranya county after analysing 814
collected scats.
Small mammals were generally
the most important food of golden
jackal (seasonal mean 70–90% of
confused biomass) ranging bet-
8Hungarian Agricultural Research 2010/4
ween 37% and 97% in the scat
samples. The main prey was the
common vole (Microtus arvalis).
Wild ungulates (0–43%) especially
wild boar (mainly piglets in the
spring) was the second most
important food, whereas there was
a low presence of cervids in the
scat samples of the jackal.
Domestic animals (mainly cattle
and pig carcasses, rarely domestic
cats) were eaten occasionally and
generally in small amounts
(0–29%). In contrast to experiences
in the Balkans and the Middle East
(Demeter and Spassov 1993; Yom-
Tov et al., 1995) with the exception
of occasional sheep grazing, no
depredation on livestock was
recorded in this study. Because
sheep were housed at night in a
nearby village and animal
husbandry was not extensive, only
the scavenging from a dump was
confirmed (Lanszki et al 2006).
Is there a solution – defending
methods and possibilities
Sheep producers have used a
wide variety of measures to try to
combat predation throughout
history. In the past shepherds had
only the most basic of tools: their
own presence, livestock guardian
dogs. Beside these they used
protective structures, fencing and
barns. Fencing (both mechanic and
electric), penning sheep at night
and lambing indoors all continue to
be widely–used methods of
protection today. Whereas
sheepdogs herd sheep, guardian
dogs are trained to integrate in to
flocks and protect them from
predators.
Donkeys and guard llamas have
been used since the 1980s in sheep
operations, using the same basic
principle as guardian dogs. Horses
and cattles also help to deter
predators, even if such species do
not actively guard sheep. Moreover
the focus in dealing with predators
shifted to the nearly exclusive use
of guns, traps, and poisons to kill
predators.
During acoustic survey (in
Greece and in Hungary) scientists
found that dogs become very
agressive when a jackal howling is
heard. They noted many times that
dog groups approched the
vocalization point while they were
barking provocative after the
playback. The reaction of unleaded
dogs in close quarters with jackals
was to chase them away instantly.
It is important to mention that
several international study prove
that guardian dogs not just chase
away jackals from the farm, but
they killed them sometimes.
But the especial importance is
to choose the most suitable type of
dog. Its not enough to use a small
Hungarian Agricultural Research 2010/4 9
Picture 3:
Golden Jackal (Photo by Andrea Lippai)
10 Hungarian Agricultural Research 2010/4
drive-dog, because bigger guardian
dogs (e.g. hungarian types: kuvasz,
komondor) are able to fight against
predators. Sometimes farmers say
that their dogs are afraid of jackals.
It is very hard to believe, if we
compare the body weight of golden
jackal (10–15kgs) to kuvasz or
komondor (40–60 kgs). On the
other hand sepherds use these dogs
for centuries successfully against
wolf and brown bear.
Most of the hunters recognize
the golden jackal in all probability
in Hungary nowadays. But we
think that it is very difficult to state
unambiguously whether a jackal or
a dog killed the prey. It’s probable
that it is such a serious problem in
case of animal husbandry. Not all
the farmers know the different kind
of attacks. The most typical method
of the attack is a bite to the throat
and choke. So, sometimes it can be
possible to identify (or to rule out)
the predator species strenght of the
injury, the distance of the eye-teeth.
The two teeth are 25–30 mms
apart, so in case of 35–45 mm it is
sure that the agressor wasn’t a
jackal – as it happened rarely.
It is well-known that stray dogs
could be extremely dangerous on
game species and livestock. On the
basis of the Hungarian Game
Management Database 47,000
stray dogs were brought down on
average annually between 1969
and 2003. There was a constitu-
tional court decision (64/2003.
(XII. 18.)) in 2004 which increased
the severity of stray dog hunting.
Thanks to this decision the hunting
of dogs decreased ~70% in the
next five years (2009: 11467 indi-
vidual). It is probable that it does
not mean the number of stay dogs
has decreased to by a third, but
there are three times more dogs
living in the hunting territories
than shot in a year on average. So
it is possible that dogs are
responsible for the attacks instead
of jackals in several cases. During
the above mentioned survey in
Israel researchers tried to identify
the predator which caused the
death of calves. In this study (for
64 calves) at least 70% of the
attacks were carried out by jackals
and the rest by either feral dogs
(20%) or wolves (10%). In few
cases stray dogs were causing
damage to small stock animals,
which were attributed to jackals.
We have to mention the
problem of increasing poaching. It
is difficult to do a well-planned
game management in this case, so
its easy to find a scapegoat, which
has become the golden jackal
several times.
In conclusion, we found the diet
of the jackal to be diverse and
feeding habits to be extremely
flexible. These patterns varied
between study locations and
seemed to be driven by
opportunistic feeding habits
targeting the most easily accessible
food source. In more human
influenced land scapes of
Mediterranean Greece, comprising
of partly natural and partly
cultivated (pastured) areas, jackal
dietary composition was dominated
by domestic ungulate carcasses
originating from open dumps and
wild boar from the marshland and
thickets. Jackals residing in the
human-dominated landscapes of
Israel were found to take full
advantage of available resources,
specifically the dominant presence
of poultry carcasses and plants
from agricultural plots, and were
able to thrive and maintain an
extremely dense population. This is
in accordance with other studies
that demonstrate that the species
could flourish where human waste
is abundant and food is no longer a
limiting resource (Yom-Tov et
al.1995).
So, it is clear, that by using the
defending methods (among others:
fence, dogs, checking, night
penning… etc.) the damage caused
by predators on livestock could be
decreasing successfully.
References
Demeter, A., Spassov, N.,
1993. Canis aureus Linnaeus,
1758. In: Niethammer, J., Krapp,
F. (Eds.), Handbuch der Saugetiere
Europas. Aula-Verlag, Wiesbaden,
pp. 107–138.
Giannatos, G., Marinos, Y.,
Maragou, P., Catsadorakis, G.,
(2005): The status of the golden
jackal (Canis aureus L.) in Greece.
Belg. J. Zool. 135, 145–149.
Lanszki, J., Giorgos
Giannatos, Amit Dolev, Gilad
Bino and Miklós Heltai (2010):
Late autumn trophic flexibility
of the golden jackal Canis aureus.
Acta Theriologica 55 (4):
361–370
Lanszki, J., M. Heltai,. Szabó,
L. (2006): Feeding habits and
trophic niche overlap between
sympatric golden jackal (Canis
aureus) and red fox (Vulpes vulpes)
in the Pannonian ecoregion
(Hungary). Canadian Journal of
Zoology 84 (11): 1647–1656
Szabó L., Heltai M., Szûcs E.,
Lanszki J. and Lehoczki R.
(2009): Expansion range of golden
jackal in Hungary between 1997
and 2006. Mammalia 73. p.
307–311
Yom-Tov, Y., Ashkenazi, S.,
Viner, O. (1995): Cattle predation
by the golden jackal Canis aureus
in the Golan Heights, Israel. Biol.
Conserv. 7, 19–22.
... Its population size is continuously increasing (Szabó et al. 2009), and recently there has been an increase of reproductive populations in northern regions of Europe (Rutkowski et al. 2015). There are many common beliefs about the jackal, especially on its feeding habits (Szabó et al. 2010, Mihelič & Krofel 2012, Bošković et al. 2013. The backgrounds of such beliefs are often unknown or can be easily misinterpreted lacking knowledge of real causes. ...
... As we expected, interspecific difference in consumption of wild ungulates was significant. However, consumption ratio of ungulates was lower than experienced in other studies in southern areas (Demeter & Spassov 1993, Radović & Kovačić 2010, Bošković et al. 2013) and in intensively managed big game areas (Lanszki et al. 2015), or common beliefs (summary: Szabó et al. 2010). Within ungulates, for the golden jackal, the periodically important (secondary or buffer) food was the wild boar, while the cervids consumption was occasional. ...
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... familiaris) (Schaeffer et al. 1981;Sundqvist et al. 2008;Echegaray and Vilá 2010;Caniglia et al. 2013), golden jackals (C. aureus) (Szabó et al. 2010) and coyotes (C. latrans) (Neale et al. 1998) are also capable of attacking and killing sheep. ...
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... Obr. 14: Odpovede na otázku či je potrebná celoročná ochrana šakala. DEMETER 1984;HELTAI et al.2000HELTAI et al. , 2001HELTAI et al. , 2004SZABÓ et al. 2007SZABÓ et al. , 2008SZABÓ et al. , 2009TÓTH et al. 2014;SZABÓ 2016 SZABÓ et al. 2010;STOYANOV 2012;BOŠKOVIĆ et al. 2013;HELTAI et al. 2013;LANSZKI et al. 2015;ĆIROVIĆ et al. 2014ĆIROVIĆ et al. , 2016KROFEL et al. 2017 ...
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Thesis
In recent years, the golden jackal (Canis aureus) is gaining attention in Central Europe and increased evidence confirms its distribution, also towards Austria. From the originiating countries of the Balkans it expands its area in a natural way (Schwarz, 2013). Previous studies show a large habitat plasticity, which leads to the question whether the golden jackal will be able to find permanantly suitable habitat in Austria. As a result of a literature review this masterthesis presents the summary of identified factors that may play a crucial role in habitat selection of the golden jackal. Despite its generalistic nature, close to its opportunistic choice of food and its adaptability, it is possible to discern trends in its habitat selection: Its core habitat should therefore provide plentiful cover with varied structures. For example, shrub vegetation or small woods in close proximity to farm areas offer protection and adjacent fields provide sufficient food. In this regard, the intensity of agricultural management is essential. In some european study areas extensive agriculture is positively linked with golden jackal presence. In these regions the jackals are also known to regularly use arable land. However, the more intensive the agriculture, the less arable land is used by the golden jackal (Šálek et al., 2013a). Proximity to waterbodies presents another factor. A lot of records prove the presence of golden jackals near perennial rivers and wetlands (Banea et al., 2012). Likewise, lowland in general is observed as frequently used habitat and mountains with long, snowy winters might operate as barriers (Giannatos, 2004). Besides largely unexplored ecological contexts, these factors provide first indications for analysing golden jackal habitat. Based on a simple overlapping of mentioned factors in QGIS, three modeling approaches were developed. A digital elevation model, a waterbody and the CORINE Land Cover data set for Austria were used as database. Through equivalent combination of chosen factors and a generous assessment of the CORINE landuse classes, model one represents large areas of high habitat potential. This model points to the generalist nature of the golden jackal, but nevertheless, areas stand out. Model two focuses on waterbodies, especially on rivers. This is achieved through low valuation of high distances to streams, but hydraulic structures are not considered. With the complementary assessment of Ramsar wetlands, model three shows an even higher habitat potential of wetlands, than model two. The resulting habitat potential analysis is a first estimate of possible habitat for the golden jackal in Austria and could introduce a basis of further research. The review shows that intensive research in Europe is still necessary to deepen the ecological knowledge of the golden jackal.
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About 1·5%–1·9% of the calves born in the Golan Heights die due to predation, mainly by golden jackals Canis aureus, and the total damage during 1993 was estimated at about US$ 42,000. Most attacks occur within 2 days after delivery, and male calves are more likely to be attacked than females, probably because they are heavier and more difficult to deliver. The high predation rate is a consequence of the artificially large population size of jackals, which is a result of food provided by humans in illegal garbage dumps. Farmers try to reduce the damage to cattle by illegal poisoning, thus affecting wildlife in the Golan.
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Broadcasted jackal howls were used to survey the status of the golden jackal in Greece. All sites with recent indication of jackal presence were surveyed at selected calling stations, and minimum population estimates were recorded. The results of the survey show that both populations and distribution area of the golden jackal in Greece have been declining steadily during the last three decades. The golden jackal has disappeared from Central and Western Greece and is currently confined in discontinuous, isolated population clusters in Peloponnese, Fokida, Samos isl., Halkidiki and North-eastern Greece. The reduction was more distinct in Southern Greece, which used to be the jackal's main area 20 years ago. The current minimum size of the jackal population in Greece was estimated at 152-162 different territorial groups. The largest population cluster was found in Nestos - Vistonida area, NE Greece. In Southern Greece, the jackal is found in the Mediterranean maquis zone at altitudes below 600m asl. Some individuals were observed up to 1000m asl, but were considered exceptional. In Northern Greece the species was found in areas below 250m asl, while the highest population densities were found in thickets around wetlands up to 10m asl.
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The golden jackal (Canis aureus), an indigenous predator of Hungary, is listed in the Hungarian Red Data Book as an extinct species because it had disappeared from the country by the beginning of the 20th century. In the 1990s a repatriation process was started in the southern part of Hungary. To monitor the presence of jackals and/or population changes countrywide, a questionnaire survey was mailed to Hungarian game management units (GMUs) between 1997 and 2006. Proof specimens, field observations and hunting bag data were also analysed. During the study period approximately 100 proof specimens were identified. According to official hunting bag data, the number of bags reported has continuously increased for 10 years, with 11 jackals shot in 1997 and a total of 163 specimens shot up to 2006 (linear regression, R(2) = 0.949, p < 0.0001), which is in parallel with the four animals reported by GMUs in 1997 and the total of 67 up to 2006 (linear regression, R(2) = 0.983, p < 0.0001). Detection of animals and their signs proves the continuous presence and the existence of stable populations of the species. Independent data collection and analysis confirmed that golden jackals have settled in Hungary. The rate of expansion and population growth are typical of invasive species.
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The feeding ecology of the golden jackal (Canis aureus L., 1758) and its interspecific trophic relationship with the sympatric red fox (Vulpes vulpes (L., 1758)) was investigated in an area of recent range expansion of the golden jackal in Hungary, central Europe. Diet composition was determined by scat analysis (over 4 years: jackal 814 scats; fox 894 scats). Compared with jackals, foxes consumed more small mammals (mean biomass consumed: jackal 77%; fox 68%) and to a lesser extent plant matter (6% and 18%, respectively). The importance of other prey, such as wild boar (Sus scrofa L., 1758), cervids, brown hare (Lepus europaeus Pallas, 1778), birds, reptiles, fish, invertebrates, and domestic animals, was minimal. Both mesocarnivores consumed primarily small animals (<50 g: 92% and 87%, respectively); this implies a typical searching and solitary hunting strategy. The trophic niche breadth of both species was very narrow and the fox proved to be more of a generalist. The food overlap index between the two canids was high (mean, 73%) and varied with the decreasing availability and consumption of small mammals. Based on prey remains found in scats, small-mammal specialization over a 2-year period and seasonal predation upon wild boar piglets (mainly by the jackal), seasonal fruit eating (mainly by the fox), and scavenging on wild or domestic ungulates (both predators) were found.
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The feeding habits of the golden jackal Canis aureus (Linnaeus, 1758) were compared using scat analysis in Hungary (temperate climate agricultural area), Greece (Mediterranean marshland), and Israel (Mediterranean agricultural area). Samples (84, 70 and 64 scats, respectively) were collected during late autumn, a period with capital importance to the long term survival of young jackals, during which they become independent. Predation of wild-living prey species was highest in Hungary, consisting primarily of small mammals (biomass estimation: 51.5%, mainly rodents), contrary to Israel and Greece, where scavenging on domestic animals dominated the diet of jackals (74%, mainly poultry and 62.6%, mainly goats, respectively). The highest consumption of wild ungulates (mainly wild boar) was found in Greece (15.7%), and plants in Hungary (39%). Bird consumption was low in all three areas. Reptiles, amphibians and fish occurred only in the diet of jackals in Greece and Israel, whereas invertebrates were eaten more frequently in Hungary. Jackal dietary composition was extremely variable between regions, strongly associated with human presence. These results illustrate the golden jackal as having a very variable diet, resulting from opportunistic feeding habits. Key wordspredation-scavenging-opportunistic feeding habits-Hungary-Greece-Israel