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Conflicts have emerged due to range expansions of the golden jackal (Canis aureus) across Europe, characterized by their international conservation status and perceived impacts on livestock and native prey species. Most countries in Central Europe do not yet include the golden jackal in their national list of occurring, native species. Nevertheless, legal obligations arise as soon as golden jackals colonize a particular country. Legal implications of this range expansion were described in past studies from an international perspective. However, they left out specifics on the legal status within any particular country. Therefore, we examine the actual legal status within Central European countries, exemplifying the diverse federal and provincial laws. In particular, we assess the current conservation and hunting laws in Austria’s provinces and discuss them in the context of neighbouring countries to analyse implications for relevant authorities. We found substantial contrasts not only among provinces but also between direct neighbouring countries, impeding efforts for transboundary species conservation and leading to complications regarding the management of this species. Improved procedures for collecting records and hunting-bag data appear necessary for future species assessment on a European level and management on a local level. We recommend a more unified legal system but adjusted to actual golden jackal presence on the regional and cross-border level, combined assessment, or similar management strategies to minimize conflicts, reduce persecution, and clarify legal obligations.
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New rules or old concepts? The golden jackal (Canis aureus)
and its legal status in Central Europe
Jennifer Hatlauf
&Kathrin Bayer
&Arie Trouwborst
&Klaus Hackländer
Received: 9 April 2020 /Revised: 11 October 2020 /Accepted: 26 December 2020
#The Author(s) 2021
Conflicts have emerged due to range expansions of the golden jackal (Canis aureus) across Europe, characterized by their
international conservation status and perceived impacts on livestock and native prey species. Most countries in Central Europe
do not yet include the golden jackal in theirnational list of occurring, native species. Nevertheless, legal obligations arise as soon
as golden jackals colonize a particular country. Legal implications of this range expansion were described in past studies from an
international perspective. However, they left out specifics on the legal status within any particular country. Therefore, we
examine the actual legal status within Central European countries, exemplifying the diverse federal and provincial laws. In
particular, we assess the current conservation and hunting laws in Austrias provinces and discuss them in the context of
neighbouring countries to analyse implications for relevant authorities. We found substantial contrasts not only among provinces
but also between direct neighbouring countries, impeding efforts for transboundary species conservation and leading to compli-
cations regarding the management of this species. Improved procedures for collecting records and hunting-bag data appear
necessary for future species assessment on a European level and management on a local level. We recommend a more unified
legal system but adjusted to actual golden jackal presence on the regional and cross-border level, combined assessment, or similar
management strategies to minimize conflicts, reduce persecution, and clarify legal obligations.
Keywords Golden jackal .Bern Convention .Habitats Directive .Inconsistent legislation .Conservation .Hunting law
The golden jackal (CanisaureusmoreoticusGeoffroy
Saint-Hilaire 1835) has been expanding its natural range
across large parts of Europe for many years (Arnold et al.
2012;Trouwborstetal.2015;Krofeletal.2017). Whereas
palaeontological data regarding the first appearance of gold-
en jackals on this continent remain controversial (Spassov
and Acosta-Pankov 2019), the first verified golden jackal
records date from around the year 1384 in Southeastern
Europe, near Sofia (Bulgaria) (Georgiev 1983 in Spassov
1989). In the 1800s, there are references to the golden jackal
in Hungary, the species being referred to as reed wolf
(Tóth et al. 2009). Some individuals may have dispersed
from Hungary to Austria, but the evidence is not clear
(Hoi-Leitner and Kraus 1989). So far, golden jackals have
been reported in 33 European countries. In 10 of these,
golden jackals were recorded for the first time in the past
10 years: Switzerland (2011, KORA 2012), Estonia and
Latvia (2013, Männil et al. 2014; Veeroja and Männil
2018), Poland (2015, Kowalczyk et al. 2015), Denmark
(2015, Trolle 2015), Lithuania (2015, Paulauskas et al.
2018), The Netherlands (2016, van der Grift 2016), France
(2017; Bouchet 2017), Liechtenstein (2018;
Landesverwaltung Fürstentum Liechtenstein 2018), and
Finland (2019; Koistinen 2019).
Whether the expansion of golden jackals in Europe is seen
as natural or not, as positive or negative, the arrival of the
species in the aforementioned countries is a fact. This devel-
opment can generate various policy-relevant issues for wild-
life conservation and management authorities. There has been
*Jennifer Hatlauf
Department of Integrative Biology and Biodiversity Research,
Institute of Wildlife Biology and Game Management, University of
Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna, Austria
Law Firm Eisenberger Rechtsanwälte GmbH, Vienna/Graz, Austria
Department of Public Law and Governance, Tilburg Law School,
Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands
/ Published online: 18 February 2021
European Journal of Wildlife Research (2021) 67: 25
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
DNA-based evidence for golden jackal attacks on sheep in
Germany (Ministerium für Energiewende, Landwirtschaft,
Umwelt, Natur und Digitalisierung 2017) and Denmark
(Anonymous 2017). Predation on sheep was also recorded
(without DNA analysis) in Italy (Fanin et al. 2018), although
attacks ceased immediately after protective fences were
installed (Fanin, personal communication). Evidence of live-
stock kills or expected ecological effects can generate negative
perceptions about the species (Heltai et al. 2013;Maran2015;
Levickaitė2015;Diosetal.2018). There has been no scien-
tific evidence of negative ecological impact. However, studies
across Europe show that golden jackals are generalist and
opportunistic omnivorous animals whose diet overlaps strong-
ly with that of red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in most areas
(Lanszki et al. 2016;Ćirovićet al. 2014), thus indicating pos-
sible competition between the two species (Farkas et al. 2017).
Whether decreases in hunting bags for deer species (e.g. fal-
low deer, Dama dama) in Hungary (especially in the southern
part) are related to increasing numbers of golden jackals re-
mains under discussion (Hatlauf et al. 2018a; Wallendums
2019). Declines in certain prey populations are better ex-
plained by diverse drivers including habitat destruction, deg-
radation, and fragmentation as well as diseases, invasive alien
species or interspecific competition, or by limiting factors,
such as severe winters (Graham et al. 2005; Sinclair et al.
2012). Policy-making regarding wildlife management is
sometimes driven by public perception more than scientific
evidence (Head 2016). In the case of golden jackals, their
evidence-based flexible and generalist diet strongly contrasts
with the perceived impact (e.g. shown in Hessenberger 2017)
on presumed prey species; however, it is sometimes these
perceptions combined with observed changes in golden jackal
populations that induce policy changes (Levickaitė2015;
European Commission 2016). Moreover, the aforementioned
reports of livestock depredations and complaints to authorities
have raised, a.o., the following policy-relevant questions in
countries recently colonized by golden jackals: Is the culling
of golden jackals possible within the applicable legislation,
and what are the most efficient methods? Should the golden
jackal be listed as a game species, a protected species, or as
neither of those? Should it be hunted year-round or only dur-
ing a specific hunting season? Will there be damage to live-
stock? How can potential damage be proven? Should there be
damage mitigation and/or compensation for losses in animal
husbandry? How can livestock be protected from golden
jackals? Is golden jackal monitoring necessary? Does a clear
legal framework, combined with damage mitigation and com-
pensation schemes, contribute to a better human-predator co-
existence? The answers to these questions might not be clear-
cut and are influenced by international wildlife conservation
legislation. The lack of legal clarity was evident, for example,
in Lithuania, where the golden jackal was first classified as an
invasive alien species; however, this status was later removed
(Levickaitė2015; Stratford 2015; European Commission
Implications of the aforementioned range expansion have
previously been discussed from a pan-European wildlife man-
agement and legal perspective. Applicability of international
instruments and implications for the status of the species (i.e.
game, protected, or no status) in Europe was analysed in pre-
vious studies (Trouwborst et al. 2015; Somsen and
Trouwborst 2019). However, the problems relating to the le-
gal status of the species within a federal state have never been
discussed. To help fill this gap, we examine the legal status of
golden jackals in Austria in depth and relate it to the broader
context of other Central European countriesGermany,
Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy,
Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. Austria has a strongly
decentralized governance structure. It has nine provinces
(Fig. 1), which are not only administrative units, but actually
hold legislative authority, distinct from the federal govern-
ment, for a number of issues including nature protection and
hunting. The situation of Austria is of particular interest for
various reasons. Firstly, it is situated between countries with
well-established golden jackal populations in Southeastern
Europe and countries with sporadic occurrence of the species
in the north and northwest (see map in Krofel et al. 2017), with
a cluster of reproductive golden jackal groups in Estonia
(Veeroja and Männil 2018), one reported reproduction in the
Czech Republic (Jirkůet al. 2018) and most recently a first
reproduction in Poland (Kowalczyk et al. 2020). Therefore,
we expect a great diversity of legal regulations among the
countries along this north-south gradient in terms of golden
jackal occurrence. Secondly, the first confirmed golden jackal
appeared in Austria relatively recently, in 1987 (Hoi-Leitner
and Kraus 1989), and the first reproductive group was found
only 20 years later, in 2007 (Herzig-Straschil 2008); further
groups were confirmed in 2016 (Hatlauf et al. 2017).
Our paper has three main objectives. Firstly, we provide
an in-depth analysis of the diverse federal and provincial
conservation and hunting laws in relation to the golden jack-
al in Austria. We examine the legal status that each province
currently assigns to the golden jackal. Secondly, we assess
the implications of the distribution of golden jackals against
the backdrop of records in each province and of the hetero-
geneous legislation of the neighbouring countries with a
view of possible future transnational management and/or
conservation efforts. Thirdly, we briefly examine the legis-
lation concerning golden jackals in central Europe in relation
to their colonization status. Furthermore, we identify the
most relevant obligations under current international and
European legal instruments which pertain to the manage-
ment and conservation of the golden jackal, in particular
the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD 1992), the
Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and
Natural Habitats (the Bern Convention Council of Europe
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1979), and Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of
Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora
(EU Habitats Directive 1992). We also assess to what extent
the concept of Raubzeug, which is comparable to an ex-
pression like vermin, is sometimes being applied to golden
jackals in one of Austrians province (e.g. see Thöne 2012).
Lastly, we contextualize the results regarding current golden
jackal distribution and analyse whether the provinces meet
their legal obligations under the CBD, the Bern Convention,
and the Habitats Directive. We use an integrated approach of
linking a literature review with the analysis of legislation
and golden jackal distribution in Austria, combined with a
review of secondary sources for neighbouring countries. We
aim at presenting an overview of existing laws, clarifying
applicable legal obligations, and exemplifying the diversity
of rules within a federal country with more than one admin-
istrative unit.
The colonization of Austria by the golden jackal and its
handling by the Austrian authorities at both federal and pro-
vincial levels can therefore serve as an examplepositive or
negativefor other countries that will be in a similar situation
in the future, with a view of possible transboundary
Confirmed golden jackal presence
We summarized the confirmed golden jackal records in
Austria by reviewing the literature between 1987 and 2018.
We only included records based on publications of document-
ed hard facts (category C1based on the SCALP (Status and
Conservation of the Alpine Lynx Population) criteria
(Molinari-Jobin et al. 2003), adapted for golden jackals by
Hatlauf et al. (2016b). Confirmed golden jackal records for
Austria had been reported by Hoi-Leitner and Kraus (1989),
Zedrosser (1995), Bauer and Suchentrunk (1995), Humer
(2006), Plass (2007), Herzig-Straschil (2008), Hatlauf and
Hackländer (2016a;b), and Hatlauf et al. (2017).
Legal analysis
For the legal analysis, we firstly examined which international
and national instruments apply specifically to the golden jack-
al. Secondly, we interpreted definitions and terms from these
instruments and assessed their implications for policy-
When interpreting international legal instruments, we used
the standard rules of treaty interpretation as codified in the
1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. As such,
we considered the binding text of their provisions, in their
context and in light of the instrumentsoverarching objec-
tives, and subsequently the accompanying documentation (in-
cluding guidance documents of the European Commission),
as well as case law and legal literature.
We interpreted national legislation on the grounds of § 6
of the Austrian Civil Code according to the following at-
tributes: wording, context, teleology, and genesis. We also
looked at corresponding case law and legal literature
Fig. 1 Legal status of the golden jackal in Austrias provinces. Handled
within the hunting law with an open season (dark grey); treated within the
hunting law but all year protected, therefore non huntable (mid-grey);
either automatically part of the nature conservation acts (light grey) or
specifically mentioned as strictly protected, like in Vienna (white with
grey point) (Status 2020)
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Golden jackal records
First occurrences of golden jackals in Austrias provinces
showed 11 records between 1987 and 1995 (documented in
Hoi-Leitner and Kraus 1989; Bauer and Suchentrunk 1995;
Zedrosser 1995). This is reflecting the state of data at the time
of Austria joining the EU (on 1 January 1995) and therefore
from this point forward falling under the EU Habitats
Directive. Up until 2007, there were a total of 17 observations
of single and presumed vagrant golden jackals (Plass 2007;
Humer 2006). In 2007 first reproduction was then observed in
the Lake Neusiedl-Seewinkel National Park (Herzig-Straschil
2008). From 2007 to 2017, a minimum of 40 single records
(roadkills, camera trap pictures, or accidentally shot individ-
uals) indicated sporadic presence of vagrant individuals on the
search for mating partners and territories in the provinces
Burgenland, Lower Austria, Styria, Carinthia, and Upper
Austria (Hatlauf et al. 2017; and unpublished data).
Additionally, actively collected data through bioacoustic sur-
veys officially confirmed the second reproduction in 2016
(Hatlauf and Hackländer 2016a), and both pictures and sur-
veys reconfirmed reproduction and a minimum of three to four
more groups in the following season (2016/2017)
and Hackländer 2016a,2016b; Hatlauf et al. 2017).
Legal instruments on the conservation of the golden
jackal: international law
There are several legal instruments that are at least potentially
relevant to the golden jackal (Table 1). On an international
level CITES (1973), the CMS (1979) and the CBD (1992)
cover certain large carnivores. The broad scope of the CBD,
which covers all biodiversity, also encompasses golden
jackals. CITES and the CMS currently do not apply to golden
jackals in Europe, however (CITES only lists the species for
India, and the species is not listed at all under the CMS). The
golden jackal is not covered by the IAS Regulation (2014)
either, as it is not included in the list of invasive alien species
of Union concern(European Union 2017) and, moreover, is
not considered an alien species in the first place (European
Commission 2016; Trouwborst et al. 2015; Somsen and
Trouwborst 2019). As discussed below in further detail, the
CBD, the Bern Convention, and the EU Habitats Directive are
indeed of relevance to golden jackals in Austria.
Convention on Biological Diversity
According to its Article 1, the CBD has three objectives: (1)
the conservation of biological diversity, including diversity
within species and between species, (2) the sustainable use
of its components, and (3) the fair and equitable sharing of
the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.
Inter alia, the Convention commits its parties, including
Austria, to the taking of various in situ measures
(Harrop 2011). Based on Article 8 par. a and b of the CBD,
Austria shall, as far as possible and as appropriate, establish
a system of protected areas and regulate the use of biological
resources vital for the conservation of biological diversity
within and outside of protected areas. Under Article 8 par. f
and k of the CBD, Austria is also obliged to promote the
recovery of threatened species, for example, by implementing
plans or management strategies, and to either develop or main-
tain necessary legislation as well as regulatory provisions for
the protection of threatened species and populations. In situ
measures should conserve ecosystems and natural habitats
Summary of more collected data will be available:
Table 1 International and
national legal instruments (italic:
instruments that were analysed in
view of the golden jackal for
Legal instruments Level
CITES The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and
Flora of 3 March 1973
CMS The Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals of 23
June 1979
CBD Convention on Biological Diversity of 5 June 1992 International
Bern Convention - on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats of 19
October 1979
EU Habitats Directive the Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation
of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora
EU IAS Regulation No 1143/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22
October 2014 on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive
alien species
Animal Welfare Act National
Conservation Acts Provincial
Hunting Laws Provincial
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and maintain or recover viable populations in their natural
Bern Convention
The Bern Convention aims to conserve all (European) wild
flora and fauna and their natural habitats, especially those
species and habitats whose conservation requires the cooper-
ation of several countries, and to promote such cooperation
(Article 1). The focus lies on endangered and vulnerable (in-
cluding migratory) species that are listed in Appendices I to
III. Appendix IV lists prohibited means and methods of kill-
ing, capture, and other forms of exploitation.
The golden jackal is not listed in Appendix II or III.
Therefore, only general conservation obligations are applica-
ble. The principal of these obligations follows from Article 2,
which requires parties, including Austria, to take requisite
measures to maintain the population of wild flora and fauna
at, or adapt it to, a level which corresponds in particular to
ecological, scientific and cultural requirements, while taking
account of economic and recreational requirements and the
sub-species, varieties or forms at risk locally. This obligation
applies to all wildlife, including the golden jackal. What the
levelreferred to in Article 2 should amount to in concrete
instances would appear to depend in part on the circumstances
involved and on the opinion of the party concerned. However,
as discussed in more detail elsewhere, it does appear safe to
assume that species should at a minimum be conserved with a
view to avoiding their becoming threatened in terms of nation-
al or international Red Lists (Bowman et al. 2010; Trouwborst
et al. 2017a). Similarly, Article 2s formulation apparently
suggests that conservation considerations should take prece-
dence over socio-economic considerations in cases of irrecon-
cilable conflict between the two (Bowman et al. 2010;
Trouwborst et al. 2017a).
EU Habitats Directive
The EU Habitats Directive aims to safeguard biodiversity by
conserving natural habitats and wild fauna and flora while
considering economic, social, cultural, and regional needs.
The main focus of this Directive is maintaining or restoring
natural habitats and animal species. Under Article 14 of the
Directive, Member States shall ensure that the exploitation
and taking of wild animals listed in Annex V is compatible
with maintaining them in a favourable conservation status
(FCS). Furthermore, under Article 15, Member States shall
prohibit certain means of capture and killing of animals be-
longing to Annex V species. Exceptions (derogations) are
possible to this prohibition of Article 15 if three conditions
are met, enumerated in Article 16. First, the exception must be
for one of the purposes mentioned in Article 16. These include
research, reintroduction, prevention of serious damage to
livestock, public health, and imperative reasons of overriding
public interest. Second, the exception can only be allowed if
it is proven that the purpose involved cannot be achieved in
another way. Third, the exception may not jeopardize the
achievement or maintenance of a FCS.
As a Member State of the EU (since 1995), Austria must
comply with the Habitats Directive, which is legally binding
and directly enforceable in national courts (Evans et al. 2013).
Under the Habitats Directive, the golden jackal is a species of
Community interest,listedinAnnexV.Aspeciesof
Community interest is defined as a species occurring within
the European territory of the Member States, which is either (i)
endangered, (ii) vulnerable, (iii) rare, or (iv) endemic, and
requiring particular attention for reasons of the specific nature
of their habitat, the potential impact of their exploitation on
their habitat, or their conservation status (Article 1(g)).
Species of Community interest can not only be listed in
Annex V but also in Annex II or IV, which require desig-
nation of protected areas and strict protection, respectively.
However, these stricter regimes were not chosen for the
golden jackal (Trouwborst et al. 2015). Exploiting or taking
golden jackals, therefore, is legally possible when (a) it is
ensured they are kept in a FCS, (b) the population is mon-
itored (which is an independent obligation under Article 11,
but also necessary to ensure FCS), and (c) the obligation
concerning prohibited means and modes of capture and
killing is observed. The Habitats Directive defines the con-
servation status of a species as the sum of influences acting
on the species concerned that may affect the long-term dis-
tribution and abundance of its populationswithin the
European territory (Article 1(i)).
A conservation status is considered favourablewhen
three cumulative components are met: (i) population dynam-
ics data of the golden jackal indicate that it is maintaining itself
on a long-term basis as a viable component of its natural
habitats, (ii) the natural range of the golden jackal is neither
being reduced nor is likely to be reduced for the foreseeable
future, and (iii) there is, and will probably continue to be, a
sufficiently large habitat to maintain the golden jackalspop-
ulations on a long-term basis (Article 1(i)). The precise mean-
ing of the term FCS remains subject to some confusion and
controversy (Epstein et al. 2016; Trouwborst et al. 2017b).
Uncertainty remains, for instance, regarding the important
question at what level the FCS should be achieved and mea-
sured preciselyespecially, whether population dynamics da-
ta must be obtained and applied for the territory of each
Member State, or for the entire EU, or at the level of concrete
(transboundary) populations, or otherwise (Epstein et al.
2016; Trouwborst et al. 2017b). In a recent ruling, however,
the Court of Justice of the EU provided some further clarity, in
a case concerning the hunting of wolves (Canis lupus)in
Finland (Case C-674/17, 10 October 2019). Importantly, the
Court clarified that there is scope, in principle, to focus on
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conservation status at the level of discrete transboundary pop-
ulations shared by various EU Member States. According to
the ruling, conservation status and the impact of derogations
thereon mustbe assessed both (1) at a local level and (2) on the
scale of the territory of the Member State involved, or, in
Member States straddling more than one biogeographical
region, the scale of the biogeographical region in question
within the Member State, or, if the natural range of the
species so requires and, to the extent possible, at a cross-
border level(Case C-674/17, par. 56). Unfortunately,
the Court did not explain under what conditions precisely a
transboundary approach is appropriate, including the question
whether it is necessary to have in place a transboundary
population-level management plan (see Linnell et al. 2008;
Trouwborst et al. 2017b). The ruling does clarify that no
account may be taken of those parts of a transboundary
populationwhich are located in non-EU Member States which
are not bound by an obligation of strict protection of species
of interest for the European Union(Case C-674/17, par. 60).
Regarding the local level, the Court observed that the assess-
ment of the impact of a derogation at the level of the territory
of a local population is generally necessary in order to
determine its impact on the conservation status of the popula-
tion concerned on a larger scale(par. 59). In addition, the
conservation status of a population at national or biogeo-
graphical level depends also on the cumulative impact of the
various derogations affecting local areas(par. 59). Moreover,
Member State authorities must ensure that the granting of
derogations does not jeopardize the long-term preservation
of the dynamics and social stability of the species in question
(par. 57).
Applying this now to golden jackals and to Austria, it
would appear that in order to comply with their obligation to
ensure a FCS for the golden jackal, the relevant Austrian au-
thorities must consider both the impact of management mea-
sures at local levels and ensure that a FCS is achieved or
maintained at a larger scale, which may be (i) the levels of
each of the two biogeographical regions within Austria (alpine
and continental), and/or perhaps (ii) the national level, and/or
perhaps (iii) the level of the transboundary population(s) of
which the Austrian golden jackals are a part. Whether, and if
so under what conditions, options (ii) and (iii) are legally
viable remains unclear, although having a transboundary
population-level management plan in place would clearly in-
crease the chances of a transboundary approach standing up in
court. It is clear, in any case, that even when assuming that a
transboundary approach is appropriate, no account may be
taken of golden jackals in Switzerland, Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Albania, North
Macedonia, Moldova, the Ukraine, Turkey, and other third
countries beyond the EU. The European Commission has en-
dorsed a transboundary approach with regard to the large car-
nivore species wolf, brown bear (Ursus arctos), Eurasian lynx
(Lynx lynx), and wolverine (Gulo gulo) (European
Commission 2007; Linnell et al. 2008), and the Court has
now apparently confirmed that such an approach can indeed,
in principle, be appropriate for wolves (Case C-674/17).
Although a similar approach might be appropriate for golden
jackals, this cannot blindly be assumed. On the one hand,
there could well be benefits to the exchange of information
and experiences, and the coordination of golden jackal man-
agement, across jurisdictional boundaries, whether internal or
international. On the other hand, the smaller home ranges and
higher densities of golden jackals imply that they are less
dependent on transboundary cooperation to achieve popula-
tion viability, and golden jackals are also less prone to the
conflicts that are typically associated with the larger carni-
vores (Trouwborst et al. 2015).
Legal instruments on the conservation of the golden
jackal: national law
According to Article 11 (1) no. 8 of the Austrian Constitution,
animal welfare is regulated by the Federation (to the extent
that the Federation is not entitled to legislate a matter accord-
ing to other provisions). Matters regarding practicing hunting
or fishing (Ausübung der Jagd oder der Fischerei) and mat-
ters for nature conservation are explicitly not covered by
Article 11 (1) no 8. of the Austrian Constitution, but of
Article 15 of the Austrian Constitution (so-called general
clause towards provinces), therefore leaving the regulation
of hunting and fishing, and nature conservation in the hands
of the provinces.
Concerning animal welfare, a nationwide Austrian
Animal Welfare Act exists. We therefore summarize the
golden jackals national status in this matter first.
Concerning hunting and nature conservation, there is no
nationwide hunting act or nature conservation act. We
therefore summarize the results for each province (Table 2
and Fig. 1). The provinces (in compliance with superordi-
nate legal instruments) can autonomously regulate which
wild animals are defined as huntable game or protected
game in the hunting acts and which wild animals are
defined as protected in nature conservation acts.
Austrian Animal Welfare Act (national status)
The Austrian Animal Welfare Act applies to all animals. Specific
paragraphs, however, are only applicable to vertebrates, cepha-
lopods and decapods. These paragraphs cover, for example, the
prohibition to perform tests on animals or requirements for ani-
mal keeping. Killing animals without due reason is prohibited.
Furthermore, with only a few exceptions (p.e. for scientific pur-
poses), killing vertebrates may only be carried out by veterinar-
ians. In this context, one exception to the scope of application of
the Austrian Animal Welfare Actexists:Duetoits§3(4)the
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Austrian Animal Welfare Act does not apply to hunting. Thus,
practicing hunting within the given limits provided by hunting
acts of the provinces does not fall under the Austrian Animal
Welfare Act. Practicing hunting outside these limits (for example
killing wild animals that are not declared to be game by hunting
acts of the provinces), however, is not exempted.
Hunting and conservation law: provincial status
The Hunting Act of Burgenland mentions the golden jackal
since an amendment that entered into force in May 2017 (§ 3
Table 2 Legal status of the golden jackal in Austriasprovinces(Status 2020)
National status Provincial status
international and
regional national
Nature Conservation
all year
protected in NCA
basic regime
no species named especially
basic regime
golden jackal not listed in Appendix II or III
Annex V
‘species of Community interest’
protection if non-huntable due to provincial status
§3 (4)
§ 1 (1)
par. j
§ 1 no.39
up from
§ 3 (1)
no. 1
Carinthia since 2018
§ 4 par. a
Austria § 17 (3)
I par. a
Salzburg since 1993
§4 no.1
since 2014
§2 (1)
par. d
Tyrol §5 (2)
Vienna Annex I
Vorarlberg §6 (1)
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(1) no. 1). The golden jackal was not explicitly named in the
hunting act before that. And even after May 2017, there was
no defined open hunting season for the golden jackal in the
Burgenland Regulation on hunting periods. However, § 1 (1)
par. j of the Burgenland Regulation, which entered into force
on the 6th November 2019 (Provincial Law Gazette of
Burgenland 2019/79) now defines a hunting period for the
golden jackal from the 1st of October to the 15th of May,
without given minimum or maximum numbers yet. Defining
a hunting period in the Burgenland Regulation on hunting
periods did not require a separate resolution by the provincial
parliament. The provincial government could therefore on its
own determine a hunting period for the golden jackal.
The Carinthian government defined the golden jackal as game
in § 4 par. a of the Hunting Act of Carinthia. Initiated by the
official Carinthian hunting organization the new amendment
entered into force in March 2018. This initiative is based on
the opinion that (1) the golden jackal should be considered an
invasive alien speciescontrary to widely accepted defini-
tions adopted under international legal instruments, according
to which the golden jackal is not an invasive alien species
(Trouwborst et al. 2015; European Commission 2016)and
(2) at the same time tends to get confused with the fox, and (3)
in view of European law obligations is an unwanted and non-
native game species (see preparatory materials relating to the
amendment: provincial government bill, October 2017, p. 2,
to § 4 par. a). Thus, the golden jackal has been listed as game.
Up to now, however, the Carinthian Regulation on hunting
does not set an open hunting season for the golden jackal. As
the Carinthian hunting organization is a public body and in
charge of this Regulation, the executive board of the
Carinthian hunting organization could itself determine hunt-
ing periods for the golden jackal.
Lower Austria
The Hunting Act of Lower Austria does not explicitly mention
the golden jackal as game. Neither do other hunting-related
laws in this province. As the golden jackal is listed in Annex V
of the EUs Habitats Directive, § 17 (3) of the nature conser-
vation Act of Lower Austria is applicable. The golden jackal
therefore must not be deliberately disturbed, captured, injured,
killed, kept or removed. § 64 (1) of the Hunting Act of Lower
Austria is a provision on so-called Raubzeug, which most
closely translates as verminand refers to mammals and bird
species that are not included in the nature conservation nor
hunting law and that might cause damage to game species.
According to this provision, hunters need to take care of game
and prevent damage by vermin, such as straying domestic
dogs and cats. According to a Lower Austrian hunting
association official, the golden jackal is a protected species
(Lebersorger 2009). By contrast, according to other docu-
ments, the golden jackal is to be handled as vermin in
Lower Austria. In particular, these include statements by hunt-
ing association representatives (Alois Gansterer in Thöne
2012) and recommendations in hunting warden manuals
(Anonymous s.a). The classification as vermin has multiple
explanations. For example, one line of reasoning is that the
species is neither listed as huntable game nor is it specifically
mentioned in the nature conservation. The classification is
therefore left open for additional options. Nevertheless, there
is no official provision by a regional administration stating
that the golden jackal should be classified as vermin,
Raubzeug. An official legal classification for golden jackals
in Lower Austria that aligns with international policies would
clarify their protected or hunting status - but is missing at the
Upper Austria
The Hunting Act of Upper Austria initially did not list the
golden jackal as huntable game. With an amendment in
2012, it was then defined as game in Annex I par. a. The
species was previously considered to only occur in other
countries; as it now was spotted in Austria, the legislators
included the golden jackal in the list of huntable game, en-
abling the taking of regulatory measures. Simultaneous to the
amendment of the hunting act, the Upper Austrian Regulation
on hunting periods was adapted. Due to § 1 (1) of the Hunting
Regulation of Upper Austria, the golden jackal can be hunted
but is protected from 16th March to 30th September. Similar
to Burgenland, changing this Regulation would again not re-
quire a separate resolution in the provincial parliament; the
provincial government could itself change these hunting pe-
riods in the future.
In Salzburg, the golden jackal was already defined as game in
the original version of § 4 no. 1 of the hunting act of Salzburg
in 1993. Still, similar as in Carinthia, there are no defined
hunting periods for the golden jackal. As such, this species
is protected all year. In 2002 the golden jackal was then in-
cluded as well in § 72 (1) no. 2 of the Hunting Act of Salzburg
(still, all year protected).
Up to the 17th amendment to the Styrian Hunting Act, the
golden jackal was not defined as game. Only since 2014, the
golden jackal was inserted in § 2 (1) par. d of the Styrian
Hunting Act. The reason for this adaption was considered
useful, as the golden jackal already occurred sporadically
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in Styria (see preparatory materials relating to the amendment:
provincial government bill, October 2014, p. 1, to § 2 (1) and
(3)). Only recently, entering into force on 19 December 2020,
hunting periods were set (1st October until 15th March),
added in § 1 no. 39 of the Styrian Regulation on hunting
In Tyrol, the golden jackal is neither mentioned in the Hunting
Act of Tyrol nor in other hunting-related laws. § 5 (2) of the
Nature Conservation Regulation of Tyrol protects species
named in Appendix 6 of the Regulation, namely all types of
non-huntable mammals. Particularly, (same as in Lower
Austria) it is prohibited to deliberately disturb, capture, injure,
scientific purposes. As the golden jackal is not defined as
game in the hunting related laws in Tyrol, the nature conser-
vation provisions are applicable.
The golden jackal is neither mentioned in the Hunting Act of
Vienna nor in other hunting-related laws. However, the
Regulation on Nature Conservation in Vienna explicitly de-
fines the golden jackal as a strictly protected species in Annex
I. For such strictly protected animals, all forms of capturing or
killing, regardless of the method used, are prohibited due to
the nature conservation of Vienna.
As with Tyrol, the golden jackal is not mentioned in hunting-
related laws in Vorarlberg. Under § 6 (1) of the Nature
Conservation Regulation of Vorarlberg, all wild mammals
that are not declared huntable game in hunting laws are
protected by the Regulation. Due to § 5 (1) of the Nature
Conservation Regulation of Vorarlberg, it is prohibited to de-
liberately disturb, capture, injure, kill, keep or remove such
Discussion and Conclusions
For Austria, the status of the golden jackal must be considered
at both national and provincial level. Three international legal
instruments set out obligations for the country at a national
level: the CBD, the Bern Convention, and the Habitats
Directive. The latter clearly indicates that monitoring is oblig-
atory, and sound monitoring is all the more important if a
measure like lethal management is declared desirable. As the
golden jackal does not have a strict protection status on the
basis of the international legislation, the species can in
principle be included in hunting laws of the provinces and
thus be hunted under the condition that it has a favourable
conservation status (FCS) under the Habitats Directive.
Nevertheless, to set open hunting seasons, reliable monitoring
data have to prove that the FCS has been reached or that the
goal of reaching it is not affected by hunting. As mentioned, in
Austria practicing hunting and matters of nature conservation
are left in the hands of the provinces and therefore no nation-
wide regulation is applicable. This federal system is, of
course, compatible with European law (Article 4 (2) Treaty
on the European Union; Article 23d Austrian Constitution,
von Bogdandy and Schill 2010). This delegation of authority
to the provinces entails specific challenges to ensure a nation-
wide compliance with European standards; as it is, Austria as
an EU member state that remains ultimately responsible for
meeting its obligations under the Habitats Directive. If the
golden jackal is not declared a game species, the correspond-
ing protective provisions of the provincial nature conservation
acts apply automatically. Furthermore, where the species is
not declared as game (with or without an open hunting season)
under the provincial hunting laws of the provinces, the killing
of golden jackals is only possible under the rules of the
Austrian Animal Welfare Act.
Hunting and conservation
Existing legal obligations at international and regional levels
restrict Austria and its provinces from completely preventing
the colonization by golden jackals. This species is not to be
regarded as alien invasive species, and the eradication of
pioneering individuals would be at odds with current interna-
tional law (Trouwborst et al. 2015; European Commission
2016; Somsen and Trouwborst 2019). Nevertheless, the gold-
en jackal can be legally declared as game with an open hunt-
ing season as long as the FCS is maintained, or its achieve-
ment not hindered. However, to ascertain the conservation
status of the population, systematic monitoring measures must
be in place. In its absence, according to international regula-
tions, there are three options regarding their status under
Austrian provincial legislation: 1) an open hunting period can-
not be set, 2) the species must remain protected under the
provincial nature conservation laws, or 3) the species must
be protected year-round in the respective hunting law. This
year-round-protectioncan enable researchers to gather more
data on jackal presence in given areas. Possible hunting quotas
can be assessed only with this basic knowledge. A main com-
ponent for the collection of golden jackal records by the prov-
inces that have an open hunting season (e.g. Upper Austria,
Burgenland) is a compulsory declaration of animals shot. In
provinces without an open hunting season, irrespective of the
status within the nature conservation legislation, the collection
of records is of utmost importance for future management
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decisions. Provinces should therefore disclose accidentally
shot animals.
TheuseofthetermRaubzeughas varied historically and is
found in former hunting laws and regulations of Burgenland,
Upper Austria, Styria, Tyrol and Vienna. Furthermore, the
German Federal Hunting Law used the term until 1976.
Raubzeugrefers to predator species that might kill or injure
game. The term was used not only for stray domestic dogs and
cats, but also for native (e.g. rats and crows) and non-native
wild species (e.g. raccoon dogs, Nyctereutes procyonoides).
The term, however, was never consistently understood among
stakeholders (Stinglwagner et al. 2009; Seilmeier and Walz
1983). In Lower Austria, in the case of some corvids, the status
changed throughout the years: At first, they were listed as
Raubzeug, then as protected species and lastly became game
within hunting law. To avoid a similar back-and-forth process
regarding the legal status of the golden jackal, its inclusion as a
game species in provincial law or its inclusion within provincial
conservation law would help to clear any uncertainty or
Following the legal interpretation that non-invasive
species that are not listed in the hunting law are automatically
covered by the Conservation Act of Lower Austria, the golden
jackal is protected under nature conservation law in four
provinces (i.e. Vorarlberg, Tyrol, Lower Austria, and
Vienna). The other five provinces list the golden jackal in their
hunting laws. However, only Upper Austria, Burgenland and -
most recently Styria have set an open hunting season,
meaning, that from 1st October to 15th March it is allowed
to hunt the golden jackal, without any minimum or maximum
quotas. While in general hunting of golden jackals is permis-
sible under EU law, proof regarding the maintenance of the
FCS is required, and pioneering individuals must neither be
eradicated nor handled as an invasive species.Two of the
provinces that included the golden jackal in their hunting laws
are protecting it all yearwhich is currently corresponding to
the international and regional obligations.In general, it has to
be convincingly shown thatproposed hunting will not prevent
the development of the population towards the FCS and the
ultimate achievement of such a status (European Commission
Transboundary efforts and neighbouring countries
Similar to other species, transboundary management of gold-
en jackals that aligns with respective biogeographical areas
and defined populations would presumably be more effective
than management that strictly corresponds to political bound-
aries (Thornton et al. 2018; Trouwborst and Hackländer
2018). Direct neighbours to Austria with persistent presence
of golden jackals include Slovenia (Krofel 2009;Krofeletal.
2017), Italy (Fanin et al. 2018;Lapinietal.2018), and
Hungary (Szabó et al. 2009). In the Czech Republic first
sightings were documented in Koubek and Cerveny (2007),
and first reproduction was confirmed in 2017 (Jirkůet al.
2018). In Poland, reproduction was only confirmed in 2019
(Kowalczyk et al. 2020), and in the same year, territorial gold-
en jackal groups were confirmed in Slovakia by means of
bioacoustic monitoring (Guimarães et al. 2019a,b). In the
remaining neighbouring countriesSwitzerland (first record
2012), Liechtenstein (first record 2018), and Germany (first
record 1998)no reproducing golden jackals have been con-
firmed to date.
As the golden jackal distribution is obviously in a very
dynamic process (Lapini et al. 2018) - what is the legal status
in Central European countries with relatively new occurrence
or longer known presence and what are the latest adaptations?
In Austria, in 2007, the golden jackal had a nationwide
protected status and was only listed as a game species (all year
protected) in the province of Salzburg. Plass (2007)therefore
considered Austria as acting responsibly compared to other
countries. Likewise, Rutkowski et al. (2015)arguedthatthe
golden jackal should be treated as a protected species in newly
colonized countries and, given the difficulties to collect hard
data on the species presence, a careful assessment of this new
situation is needed. In Germany, the golden jackal is not listed
in the federal hunting law and therefore automatically
protected (Hatlauf and Hackländer 2018). In Poland, the gold-
en jackal was listed as a game species only in 2019 and given
an open season from 1st August to end of February (Minister
Środowiska 2017), with a maximum quota of 1270 individ-
uals set for the hunting period of 2019/20 (Jurszo 2019). In the
Czech Republic, the species has no legal status, and it is not
listed in the hunting act (Trouwborst et al. 2015), indicating
that killing is not forbidden but can be permitted by the nature
conservation authority (M.Šálek, personal comment). In
Slovakia, the golden jackal has been listed as game since
2013, with an open hunting season from 1st of August to
end of February (Ministerstva pôdohospodárstva a rozvoja
vidieka Slovenskej republiky 2013). In Hungary, jackals can
be hunted as game year-round (FVM rendelet a vad
védelméről, a vadgazdálkodásról, valamint a vadászatról
szóló 1996). In Slovenia, the legal status changed back and
forth, from protected to game species,again to protected (with
active monitoring efforts) and finally to game with an open
season and a set quota, starting in 2020 (Mladenovičet al.
2015; Potočnyk et al. 2019). In contrast, Italy lists the golden
jackal as a specially protected species (Gazetta Ufficiale della
republica Italiana 1992); and Lapini et al. (2011)urgedforthe
adoption of a conservation plan. In Switzerland, the species is
protected implicitly because it is not listed in the federal hunt-
ing law (Bundesgesetz über die Jagd und den Schutz
wildlebender Säugetiere und Vögel 2017; Hatlauf et al.
2018b) and is therefore a protected species as well. In the
principality of Liechtenstein, the golden jackal has been a
protected species since 2017, even before the first individual
25 Page 10 of 15 Eur J Wildl Res (2021) 67: 25
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was confirmed (Liechtensteinisches Landesgesetzblatt 2017)
(summarized visualization in Fig. 2).
This overview of the legal regulations shows that not only
in our country of focus, Austria, but also in other countries on
a transnational level, the differences can be diametrical. As
Pyšková et al. (2016) pointed out, opinions (and also thereaf-
ter legal implications) about this speciesstatus in Europe will
likely also differ between regions or countries in the future,
and with good reasons. This leads us to the following
An important consideration regarding the golden jackal is
the level of systematic assessment and the scale, or scales, at
which the FCS should be looked at, as discussed above. FCS
is most likely not yet reached within any single province of
Austria. By contrast, when setting the scale on the broadest
transboundary level, the estimated European-scale population
of 97-117 K individuals (LCIE 2018) might indicate the FCS
has been reached, but only at this broad continental scale.
However, as shown above, neither the provincial nor the
continental level would appear to provide adequate bench-
marks in the context of Austrias obligations under the
Habitats Directive. The previously mentioned recent EU court
ruling (Case C-674/17, 10 October 2019) on the possible
levels of populations might provide a starting point, but more
comprehensive guidelines are needed. The aforementioned
continental population estimate is possibly an underestimate,
as it might exclude freshly settled groups (even though these
numbers might not be remarkably high). The basis for an
assessment of the FCS in newly colonizedareas might in-
clude estimates of population size and trend within but also
beyond country borders that are based on chance records in
addition to systematic monitoring. The quality of data must be
carefully considered when generating these estimates and
quality criteria are needed. Solely relying on chance observa-
tions like roadkill would lead to an overestimation of the set-
tled distribution area by most likely recording only vagrant
individuals. On the other hand, relying solely on bioacoustic
stimulation in areas of recently settled golden jackals, of low
Fig. 2 Simplified visualization of the legal status of the golden jackal in
Central European countries (for Austrian provinces, see details in Fig. 1):
strictly protected= light blue-grey in IT, Vienna, LI; non huntable=
light grey, meaning, that it is not listed within hunting law (no game) and
therefore automatically protected (Lower Austria, DE, CH); non
huntable= mid grey, listed within the hunting law (game) but all year
protected (Carinthia, Salzburg); not regulated= mid green-grey, indi-
cating that killing is not forbidden but needs permission by the nature
conservation authority (CZ); huntable (game, open, and closed season)
= darker/mid grey (SI, SK, Burgenland, Upper Austria, Styria); huntable
(game)= dark grey, indicating that there is an open season all year (HU)
(Status 2020)
Page 11 of 15 25Eur J Wildl Res (2021) 67: 25
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density with most likely low detection rate (unpublished data)
could lead to an underestimation of the true distribution due to
false absences: non-detection does not necessarily imply ab-
sence; even more so in the case of the very secretive golden
Consensus, cooperation, and future topics
Regarding our initial questions from the introduction, lethal
control of golden jackals can be in accordance with interna-
tional legislation as long as it does not interfere with the
achievement or maintenance of a FCS, and applicable
methods are in conformity with those rules. If hunting periods
are desired, open seasons should be applied in consideration
of the reproductive biology of the species, at a time period,
when the young are already independent. As damage to live-
stock by golden jackals was previously recorded (Fanin et al.
2018), possible compensations should be discussed (Linnell
et al. 2008). Although there are indications that compensation
does not necessarily improve tolerance with some stake-
holders, it might still result in better acceptance among affect-
ed farmers (Rigg et al. 2011). Furthermore, monitoring of
golden jackals is necessary to regularly assess the conserva-
tion status and, moreover, to help promote humanpredator
coexistence in combination with clear management and legal
regulations. Opinions, attitudes, interpretations and misinfor-
mation can influence policy-making related to wildlife. For
example, in Lithuania, the golden jackal was initially listed
as an alien species, although the animals were expanding nat-
urally and did not appear because of introductions by humans
(Trouwborst et al. 2015; Rutkowski et al. 2015; European
Commission 2016). Besides the assessment of the spread
and occurrence of golden jackals in Europe, examining behav-
ioural ecology, feeding behaviour, diet, empirical levels of
predation, and ecosystem services need to be investigated
thoroughly and included in the discussions about the species.
To find consensus and cooperation for an integrated man-
agement between hunting, conservation and science, new rules
(e.g. integration of agreed legal tools, support in the decision
process, common methodology in monitoring and assessment,
and open discussions) need to replace old concepts or
entrenched practices. Different cultural models might also be
relevant for further consideration of communicating species
management (Maran 2015). In 2016, a hunter shot a golden
jackal in Switzerland (where it is protected countrywide) by
accident, expecting it to be a red fox, and he immediately re-
ported this mistake to the authorities (Amt für Jagd und
Fischerei Graubünden 2016). This kind of voluntary declara-
tion of accidentally shot golden jackals would greatly benefit
Austrias provinces in the determination of a FCS. It would
furthermore not only contribute to long-term monitoring, but
also inform ongoing decision-making about the legal status for
golden jackals in the provinces. No matter the consequence, we
urge for truthful cooperation and transparency rather than se-
crecy in hunting practices or species conservation. Furthermore,
we recommend that the provincial status of the golden jackal
should be revisited with regard to international law and in align-
ment to the speciesecology, conservation status and experi-
ences in other European countries (e.g. a countrywide monitor-
ing to assess the population was carried out in Slovenia).
Because of assumed preferred habitats and previous models
(Hatlauf et al. 2016a), monitoring areas for Austria might have
to be adapted to the already existing European reporting re-
quirements under Article 17 of the EU Habitats Directive, in
this case, specifying an assessment divided into alpine and con-
tinental region. Based on our findings we suggest an evaluation
of the status of golden jackals in each of Austrias provinces
with continuous monitoring of the development of the popula-
Acknowledgements Open Access funding provided by University of
Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU). J.H. is a recipient
of the DOC Fellowship of the Austrian Academy of Sciences at the
Institute of Wildlife Biology and Game management. A.T. was funded
by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, under the Ius
Carnivoris project (grant no. 452-13-014). We would like to express our
gratitude to colleagues who provided information from certain
countriesHubert Potočnik, Yannik Fanin, Nuno Guimarães, and
Martin Šálek. We furthermore thank our colleagues Brady Mattsson,
Robin Sandfort, Marcela Suarez-Rubio, Miklós Heltai, and Laurent
Schley for valuable comments regarding the topic or the manuscript.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest The authors declare that they have no conflict of
Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons
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you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, pro-
vide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were
made. The images or other third party material in this article are included
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permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this
licence, visit
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... The current distributional range covers Arabian Peninsula, Middle East, and Caucasus eastwards into the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia with the highest population densities to be found in the central and eastern part of Balkan Peninsula (Penezić & Ćirović, 2015). The golden jackal has been reported in 33 European countries (Hatlauf et al., 2021) with established populations in about 20 European countries (reported in Trouwborst et al., 2015;Gherman & Mihalca, 2017). ...
... The golden jackal is a medium-sized opportunistic mesopredator with a broad range of food categories, including small mammals (mainly rodents), birds (and their eggs), amphibians, reptiles, invertebrates, and sporadically plants (especially fruits) (Farkas et al., 2017;Gherman & Mihalca, 2017;Lange et al., 2021;Lanszki et al., 2016;Penezić & Ćirović, 2015;Torretta et al., 2021). This flexible and generalist diet of the golden jackal is supposed to promote the currently observed area expansion (Hatlauf et al., 2021). Its opportunistic omnivorous diet makes C. aureus a potential food competitor with the red fox (Vulpes vulpes; Farkas et al., 2017;Lanszki et al., 2016). ...
... This aspect is seen controversially in the literature. Hatlauf et al. (2021), state that so far no negative effects of the jackal on the ecosystem are known. However, in Bulgaria, where the jackal occurs in very high abundance, the species is supposed to cause significant economic damage due to game losses (Stoyanov, 2012). ...
Full-text available
Abstract In recent decades, a rapid range expansion of the golden jackal (Canis aureus) towards Northern and Western Europe has been observed. The golden jackal is a medium‐sized canid, with a broad and flexible diet. Almost 200 different parasite species have been reported worldwide from C. aureus, including many parasites that are shared with dogs and cats and parasite species of public health concern. As parasites may follow the range shifts of their host, the range expansion of the golden jackal could be accompanied by changes in the parasite fauna in the new ecosystems. In the new distribution area, the golden jackal could affect ecosystem equilibrium, e.g., through changed competition situations or predation pressure. In a niche modeling approach, we project the future climatic habitat suitability of the golden jackal in Europe in the context of whether climatic changes promote range expansion. We use an ensemble forecast based on six presence‐absence algorithms to estimate the climatic suitability of C. aureus for different time periods up to the year 2100 considering different IPCC scenarios on future development. As predictor variables, we used six bioclimatic variables provided by worldclim. Our results clearly indicate that areas with climatic conditions analogous to those of the current core distribution area of the golden jackal in Europe will strongly expand towards the north and the west in future decades. Thus, the observed range expansion may be favored by climate change. The occurrence of stable populations can be expected in Central Europe. With regard to biodiversity and public health concerns, the population and range dynamics of the golden jackal should be surveyed. Correlative niche models provide a useful and frequently applied tool for this purpose. The results can help to make monitoring more efficient by identifying areas with suitable habitat and thus a higher probability of occurrence.
... Golden jackals are dispersing to new habitats on their own and migrating to regions where they have not been before. For example, there have been repeated reports in western and central European countries such as Germany (since 1997), the Netherlands (since 2016), France (since 2017), Switzerland (since 2011), the Czech Republic (since 2006), Estonia (since 2011) and Poland (since 2015) (Hatlauf et al., 2021a). Even from Scandinavia, individual records of golden jackals were confirmed (Denmark 2015, Finland 2019, Norway 2020). ...
... Even from Scandinavia, individual records of golden jackals were confirmed (Denmark 2015, Finland 2019, Norway 2020). The closest known areas to these new records, where reproduction has been detected are in Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria and Italy (Arnold et al., 2012;Hatlauf & Hackländer, 2016a;Jirku et al., 2018;Kowalczyk et al., 2020;Hatlauf et al., 2021a). ...
... Currently (February 2021) it is listed as huntable game in four provincial hunting laws: Upper Austria, Styria and Burgenland (closed season 16 March to 30 September) and Salzburg (protected all year round). In the remaining federal provinces, it falls automatically or specifically (strictly protected in Vienna) under the Nature Conservation Act (Hatlauf et al., 2021a). • In the Czech Republic, the golden jackal is not mentioned in any specific law, which indicates that killing is not prohibited, but it can be allowed by the nature conservation authority. ...
Full-text available
The golden jackal is colonizing new habitats where it did not exist before. This creates a new situation in many areas, which poses a new challenge for recording and monitoring. The European legal situation and the increasing social and political interest make a structured and comparable monitoring of the golden jackal more and more necessary. Today, established monitoring standards of wolf, lynx and bear allow the comparison of collected data in many European countries. Only common monitoring rules and forms of presentation make it possible to provide reliable and comprehensible data across political borders. In order to meet these requirements for the further monitoring of the golden jackal occurrence in Central Europe we developed recommendations for the monitoring of the golden jackal. The aim was to create a monitoring basis for Central European and other bordering countries to ensure transparency and comparability in golden jackal monitoring.
... The golden jackal (Canis aureus) is a generalist mesocarnivore. Over the last decades, the species has expanded from its original core range in south-eastern Europe and colonized new areas across Europe (Hatlauf et al. 2021;Ranc et al. 2022). Germany is currently located on the western edge of the species' distribution range. ...
... Germany is currently located on the western edge of the species' distribution range. Single individuals have been registered further west and north (France, the Netherlands, Norway) (Hatlauf et al. 2021;Linell et al. 2021); however, all known reproduction has been recorded east or south-east of Germany. Land use changes, climate change, and the absence of wolves, as well as combinations of these factors, could be drivers for the expansion of the jackal population in Europe (Spassov and Acosta-Pankov 2019). ...
Full-text available
The golden jackal (Canis aureus), a mesocarnivore, is currently expanding from eastern towards western Europe. Reproduction of the species could be confirmed in several areas in central Europe in recent years. This study collects the first records of golden jackal reproduction in Germany in 2021 and 2022. A family group of at least five individuals could be confirmed using camera traps and scat surveys with a trained detection dog and subsequent genetic identification in 2021. In 2022, camera traps confirmed a second reproduction in the same area.
... Sogar aus Skandinavien wurden bereits einzelne Nachweise des Goldschakals kommuniziert (Dänemark 2015, Finnland 2019, Norwegen 2020. Die nächsten bekannten Gegenden, in denen bereits Reproduktion nachgewiesen wurde, liegen in Polen, Tschechien, Österreich und Italien (Arnold et al., 2012;Hatlauf & Hackländer, 2016a;Jirku et al., 2018;Kowalczyk et al., 2020;Hatlauf et al., 2021a). ...
... September) und Salzburg (ganzjährig geschont). In den restlichen Bundesländern fällt er automatisch oder gezielt (streng geschützt in Wien) unter das Naturschutzgesetz (Hatlauf et al., 2021a). ...
Full-text available Das Monitoring von Großen Beutegreifern in Europa hat in den vergangenen Jahren an Bedeutung gewonnen und wurde mit viel Expertise weiterentwickelt. Der Hintergrund hierfür ist die Ausbreitung von Luchs, Wolfund Bärin vielen Ländern und Gegenden. Neben diesen Tierarten gewinnt auch der Goldschakal immer weiter an Bedeutung. Die Tierart breitet sich in Gebieten Osteuropas wieder aus, in denen die Art bis in die 50er Jahre stark zurückgedrängt wurde. Aber auch in Regionen, in denen der Goldschakal nie heimisch war,wie in Zentral-West-und Nordeuropawerden zunehmend Nachweise registriert. Große Entfernungen zu bekannten Vorkommensgebietenund eine neue Situation in Regionen, in denen die Tierart erstmals auftaucht,machen einen internationalen Austausch zwischen europäischen Ländern empfehlenswert. Somit wächst auch das Bestreben bei der Nachweiserhebung und -bestätigung nach einheitlichen Standards vorzugehen, wie dies bei Luchs,Wolfund Bärbereits vielerorts der Fall ist.Im Folgenden werden Vorschläge für ein einheitliches Vorgehen und eine einheitliche Beurteilung von Hinweisen im Monitoring des Goldschakals in Abstimmung mit Fachpersonen aus Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz beschrieben.Bei Bedarf sollen diese Standards bei regelmäßigen internationalen Treffen weiterentwickelt und angepasst werden. Bei der Ausarbeitung der Standards wird sich vor allem an den Monitoringstandards für Bär, Luchs und Wolf orientiert (Molinari-Jobin et al.2003, Reinhardt et al.2015), Ideen der ersten Vorschläge für praktikable Kriterien speziell für Goldschakale wurden erweitert (Hatlauf et al.2016) und praktische Erfahrungen der konsultierten Experten integriert.
... 2,в), практически отсутствующая у взрослых зверей. В Европе шакал известен в 33 странах, включая Украину, Беларусь, страны Балтии, Финляндию и Норвегию [6,11,12]. Современное распространение шакала на территории европейской части России показано на рис. 3. На левом берегу Волги, в южных районах Саратовской и Оренбургской областей вид стал регулярно встречаться с 1997-1999 гг. [13; 14]. ...
Full-text available
Background. In recent decades, the golden jackal (Canis aureus) has spread northward, including in the Volga region. Finding a species belonging to a desert faunal complex far from the main range is important for the study of biological diversity and monitoring of invasive species. Materials and methods. We used information about two cases of jackal’s appearance in Penza region, documented (the carcass of a hunted individual in the first case and a video recording in the second). Results and discussion. A female jackal was caught in the vicinity of the village of Elshanka Neverkinskiy district (52.67N, 46.62E) in March, 2022. The second individual was identified from a video recording made in February, 2019 in Maloserdobinskiy district (52.43N, 44.92E). Craniometric indicators and signs of wear of the teeth of the harvested female correspond to the age of about two years. Conclusions. The jackal is first recorded for the fauna of Penza region. The points of species’ appearances are currently the northernmost in the Volga region.
... They belong to the Canidae family, which is one of the three Canis species occurring in India, such as the Indian Wolf (Canis lupus pallipes), the Himalayan Wolf (Canis himalayensis) and the Golden Jackal (Canis aureus) [4]. This animal with stable population and wide geographic range is protected under Schedule II Part II of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 'WPA' (1972), 'Least Concern' in IUCN red list, and is listed in CITES Appendix III only for India [5]. In spite of their major distribution outside the protected areas, Jackals face drastic decline in their population size due to anthropogenic activities [6]. ...
The escalating trend of illegal trade on wildlife and wildlife products is a serious threat to existence of wildlife globally. Effective enforcement of laws to contain this requires accurate identification of the seizures which is often difficult due to fake lookalike articles. The articles thus pose challenging complexity and necessitate the usage of different approaches in identifying the species. Species identification by the use of molecular technology is widely recognized to be a definitive method. In this report, we describe the identification of seized canid head, suspected to be of jackal and a pod suspected to be of musk deer using the DNA-based approach. The mitochondrial regions of the query samples were amplified using ribosomal markers, 12S rRNA and 16S rRNA. The sequence reads were compared with the homologous hits extracted from the NCBI database. The phylogenetic analysis was carried out with the aligned sequences to identify species with 500 bootstrap replications. Based on the genetic analysis of both the seizures, the tested samples were identified to be belonging to the species ‘Golden Jackal’.
... However, jackals may also have had a long-term presence near the Black Sea Coast in Bulgaria, as well as in the Caucasus (Spassov and Acosta-Pankov, 2019). Conservation management of this species reflects its natural range expansion (i.e., without direct human assistance), and the jackal represents a valuable case study of conservation law and policy for species colonizing areas without records of their historical presence (Trouwborst et al., 2015;Hatlauf et al., 2021). A study of jackals in the Baltic States in northern Europe demonstrated that individuals in this region have ancestry from both the Caucasus and southeastern Europe (Rutkowski et al., 2015). ...
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Species range expansions and (re)colonization of landscapes variously dominated by humans occur on a global scale. Understanding such range enlargements and subsequent changes in the composition of ecological communities is important for conservation management, and the golden jackal (Canis aureus) can be considered a model species for regional and continental range expansion. Although this mesopredator has been known from the Adriatic Coast of southeastern Europe for over 500 years, the species is a recent arrival further north, including in Slovenia where jackals were first confirmed in the 1950s. Research from eastern Italy found jackals with ancestry from the Dalmatian region on the Adriatic Coast and the Pannonian region further east. We predicted similar ancestry for Slovenian jackals, and examined samples from Croatia, including Dalmatia and interior regions, Serbia, Hungary, and Slovenia with 25 microsatellite markers to determine population genetic structure. We detected two distinct genetic clusters, representing the Dalmatian and Balkan-Pannonian (Pannonian) jackal populations (FST = 0.157, 95% CI: 0.112–0.209). Contrary to expectations, only few individuals in Slovenia exhibited signs of Dalmatian ancestry, and none appeared to be direct immigrants. Some results suggested a third cluster centered in northern Hungary. These divergent profiles might indicate immigration from outside the study area, and samples from regions further east are required for additional resolution. Based on our results, we hypothesize that Dalmatia has not been a substantial source for recent range expansion of the species, which has likely occurred from the east. Further investigation can help resolve the ancestry and current distribution of the Dalmatian and Pannonian populations, and the ecological relationships resulting from progressively overlapping distributions of canid species. Finally, genomic research could illuminate whether genetic variants from eastern areas might have facilitated jackal expansion into regions characterized by a colder climate, the presence of snow, and extensive forest cover; habitats seemingly avoided by the jackals occupying the Adriatic Coast and surrounding areas in southeastern Europe.
Technical Report
See Rewilding Europe website for free download of the report ( This report provides a follow up and expansion on the 2013 landmark “Wildlife Comeback in Europe” report, which selected species showing signs of recovery and explored the reasons behind these trends. A total of 50 European wildlife species have been examined on trends in abundance, range sizes. Based on new analyses, the main drivers for recovery and limitations to growth are described. The results reinforce the message that wildlife have the potential to rebound and recover within Europe. Natural recolonisation and expansion is occurring for some species. For others, measures such as the legal protection of species and sites are a strong reason behind recovery, especially for birds. Conservation efforts such as species reintroductions and translocations are also important.
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Successful conservation depends on accurate taxonomy. Currently, the taxonomy of canids in Africa, Eurasia and Australasia is unstable as recent molecular and morphological studies have questioned earlier phenetic classifications. We review available information on several taxa of Old World and Australasian Canis with phylogenetic uncertainties (namely, African jackals, Asian wolves and Australasian dogs), in order to assess the validity of suggested scientific names and provide a scientific basis for reaching a taxonomic consensus primarily based on molecular data, but also including morphology, biogeography and behavioural ecology. We identify major knowledge gaps, provide recommendations for future research and discuss conservation implications of an updated taxonomic framework. Recent molecular studies indicate that the former Afro-Eurasian ‘golden jackal’ represents two distinct lineages, the golden jackal (Canis aureus) from Eurasia and the African wolf (C. lupaster) from Africa. Phylogenetic research also indicates that the side-striped and black-backed jackals form a monophyletic group that branched earlier than Canis, Cuon and Lycaon, which should be reassigned to the genus Lupulella as L. adusta and L. mesomelas, respectively. The Himalayan/Tibetan and Indian wolf lineages appear to have diverged earlier and are distinct from all other grey wolves (C. lupus) based on mitochondrial and nuclear genome data. However, until genome-wide data from multiple individuals across the range clarify relationships with other taxa, we suggest referring to the Himalayan/Tibetan wolf lineage as Canis lupus chanco. We support the currently accepted nomenclature for the Indian wolf Canis lupus pallipes for the wolf populations found on the Indian subcontinent and possibly also in south-western Asia (exact geographical boundary pending). The information presented here provides a current and consistent taxonomic framework for use by conservationists and other practitioners, but it is also intended to stimulate further research to resolve current uncertainties affecting the taxonomy of Old World canids.
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The golden jackal is a relativeley new species to the Province Burgenland, Austria. In 2007 the first reproduction was confirmed. Here we summarise some data also from the neighbouring country Hungary and present hunting bag data also from roe deer, fallow deer and red fox. It seems that up to the data collected (2016) there was no decline in hunting bag data of mentionned game species in Hunary. Only in Somogy county the numbers of fallow deer were declining (p13/ Figure 4). The main jackal distribution and hotspot is the southern part of Hungary. The numbers (and hunting bags) need to be asessed again to see a more recent development.
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Golden jackal (Canis aureus) is expanding north in Europe. So far, its reproduction has rarely been reported in the expansion area. In this paper, we describe the first cases of reproduction of golden jackal from northern Poland, 500 km north from previously reported records. In summer 2015 and 2017, golden jackal juveniles (four and five individuals, respectively) sightings were recorded near Kwidzyn in Vistula river valley, where jackals have been observed repeatedly since 2015. These are the northernmost records of golden jackal reproduction in Europe. Since 2015, golden jackal was recorded in 15 locations in different parts of Poland, usually in the vicinity of larger rivers in mosaic habitats. The reproduction records suggest local establishment of population with predicted population increase and further expansion. First observation and record of reproduction in the same year suggest that expansion of golden jackal in Poland took place earlier and was not recorded, probably due to lack of knowledge on the species and failure to recognize its individuals.
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The golden jackal (Canis aureus Linnaeus, 1758) is one of the most widespread canid species. Nowadays, it is a permanent species from the Slovak fauna. In recent years, their number has grown and the dispersion range has increased in our country. The first evidence of this species was recorded in 1947 and after 1989 the records of jackal presence increased steadily, most originating from the South of Slovakia. The presence of the golden jackal was quite evident from 2009 until 2016 as results demonstrate a great significance in terms of numbers during this period. The collected data is very consistent between culling data (strong evidence) and opportunistic observations (presumable evidence). Patterns of first migrating individuals presented in this work, confirmed previsions of the direction of the dispersion of this species to North from the Balkans region. Presumably, much of the migration occurred from Hungary as most of the first official records of the golden jackal in Slovakia are from areas close to the Hungarian border. This work aims to review and evaluate available official data and literature of Canis aureus in Slovakia. It also intends to summarise the status of this species and correlate it with historical data.
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Background: Data on the historical distribution of the golden jackal in Europe and its primary habitats are scarce. There are many new data on the population explosion and the rapid spread of the in Europe. However, the main factors for this expansion, the core population and its routes of dispersal, remain controversial or insufficiently studied. New information: This study provides a profound analysis of the history of the jackal's (Canis aureus moreoticus Geoffroy, 1835) occurrence in Europe, the factors limiting or those triggering its expansion on the continent. The analysis shows that the timing of the species appearance in Europe still remains unclear. Historical data show that the species is a typical inhabitant of South-Eastern Europe, with some pulsations within its core area, as well as extensions to the north and west of it in favourable periods. Nowadays, the increase of the species range in Europe is the largest documented population explosion on the continent. We argue that this expansion originates from only three core populations, the Peri-Strandja area and the Dalmatian coast in the Balkans and the east parts of Western Transcaucasia in the Caucasus. This population explosion is largely due to a unique combination of factors of an anthropogenic nature.
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The pervasive influence of human agency on biodiversity in the Anthropocene gives rise to several new challenges for national and international wildlife law, including questions regarding what is natural and what is alien. Ultimately, a new vision and new rules are called for but in the meantime wildlife lawyers and other conservation professionals must work with conventional legal frameworks. Striking instances where vexing issues arise are the recent range expansions of certain canids. Coyotes Canis latrans and crab-eating foxes Cerdocyon thous in the Americas and golden jackals Canis aureus in Europe are progressively colonizing areas and countries where they did not previously occur. A key question is whether to consider this as acceptable extensions of natural range or whether the pioneering carnivores should be viewed as alien species, potentially triggering legal obligations of prevention , control and eradication. In addressing this question we draw on guidance provided under the Convention on Biological Diversity and other international legal frameworks , in which governments are forced to grapple with the application of long-standing concepts to new phenomena in an era of profound global change. Our analysis suggests that coyotes in Costa Rica, crab-eating foxes in Panama, and golden jackals in the Netherlands are not to be considered alien species, whether invasive or not. Thus, even if action to address adverse impacts by these canids on native biodiversity may sometimes be desirable, these species are not subject to legal requirements to combat invasive alien species.
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the Authors outline the present distribution of the golden jackal Canis aureus in Italy with special attention to its recent expansion and to the problems that affect its conservation in northern Italy. Key-words: Canis aureus, expansion, Italy, Conservation.
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In the Baltic countries, the golden jackal (Canis aureus) was first recorded in Estonia on 28 February 2013 and three specimens of golden jackal were hunted in Latvia in 2014. The first golden jackal in Lithuania was hunted on 7 February 2015. The species of the golden jackal was identified using morphological and mitochondrial DNA control region (CR1) analysis. In Lithuania, hunting of these animals is permitted throughout the year. Few studies in the past revealed the potential role of the golden jackal as a carrier of intestinal helminths, parasites, and zoonotic diseases. In this study, the presence of tick-borne pathogens and other parasites in golden jackal specimen were investigated. No pathogens (Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Babesia sp., Bartonella sp.) were found in the spleen of the golden jackal. However, the flukes Apophallus donicus, nematodes Uncinaria stenocephala, and unidentified individuals of class Cestoda were detected. Helminths A. donicus and U. stenocephala are not new species for Lithuania and neighbouring territories.
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Introduction The Italian Karst hills in the southeaster part of Friuli Venezia Giulia is home of a consolidated population of golden jackal since 1996 (estimated density in 2017: 1.1 heads/100ha). From the 2013 jackals sporadically attacked two flocks. During 2015-2016, was started a collaboration with a local breeder to monitor predations on his flock. The flock, with 40 sheep, grazed on pastures of 25 ha, fenced with metal wire mesh, with semi extensive management, without the presence of the shepherd at night Methods During the studies were been analyzed 18 carcasses of sheep presumably preyed by the golden jackals. After the findings, the carcasses were necropsied to evaluate pathological features, the causes of death and the amount of consumption. Moreover 15 carcasses were monitored with camera traps to study the consumption behavior. Results Predation took place from summer to autumn, mainly at night or at dawn (6.25% may, 12.5% July, 12.5% September, 68,75% October). Predated animals were mainly weak condition, subjects such as lambs (less than one year old, n=8), elderly (n=5) and sick. The sheep were immobilized by single or several bites in front area of body (neck, forelimbs) or in hind limbs. Death came due to the bites in the ventral area of neck. Bites were often evident in carcasses skin, the distance between the two teeth holes were from 3 to 3.5 cm. After the flatting the neck showed: hemorrhages, lacerations of soft tissues (muscles, big vessels), while the tracheas were rarely lacerated with only signs of compression. The consumption took place mainly at night or at dawn with a constant distribution per hour (18-21: 23%, 21-24: 24%, 24-3:26% 3-6: 27%). On average, for adult sheep, consumption lasted for 7-10 days, but often returned also after 20 days or more. The average total daily consumption duration was 28 minutes (1-85). Factors affecting permanence were related to the disturbance and the carcass consumption rate. Feeding behaviour was often alternate with vigilance behaviour (about 42% of the time spent). The consumption was began from removing the rumen and intestine from the abdominal cavity and moved it to a few meters from the carcass, to avoid the dispersion of faecal material Feeding began from the muscular part of the back limbs, then passing to the heart and lungs. Conclusions The macroscopical lesions observed on the carcasses and the photographic material collected confirm the active predatory behavior of golden jackals. From the analysis of the video emerge that the predation have probably occurred by two or more jackals in the 61% of cases. In the remaining 39% cases, a single animal made the predation. The anatomopathological features observed in sheep killed by Karst golden jackal appears very similar to the wolf approach. The jackal is the first consumer of the carcass but the kleptoparasitism by wild boar and fox makes difficult to estimate the amount of consumption by the predator. Livestock predations are the main sources of conflict between jackals and breeders.
Wolves and jackals are two canid species currently expanding their territory in Europe. Wolves are dispersing from the ten populations all over Europe and jackals from the core area in the Balkans, to the North and West. Within their present range, questions on a probable coexistence are being raised. Wolves were never extinct in Slovakia, but they were mainly absent from Austria since the 19th century - until 2016, when reproduction was again confirmed. Since the 1980s, observations of lone jackals in both countries indicated only scattered and sporadic presence. In 2007, first jackal reproduction was officially reported in Austria, while up to our research, none was confirmed in Slovakia. Recent proof suggests that there are three wolf packs in Austria, but not yet in close vicinity to known jackal groups. In Slovakia, as wolves occupy large areas of the country, dispersing jackals are likely to collide with wolf territory. Based on an assumed inversed pattern of the distribution of both species in Europe, we aim to understand if the presence of one species affect the presence of the other. We targeted our study to specific areas of presumed presence and/or co-existence. With the support of data from hunting bags and with information directly gathered from rangers, foresters, hunters and dwellers, we performed bioacoustic monitoring and ground tracking surveys in the search of evidence from these two species. In the border region of Austria and Slovakia as well as in the Centre and East of Slovakia, our surveys verified the presence of jackal groups confirmed jackal presence in the vicinity of known wolf territories. Probable simultaneous occurrence of wolves and jackals in several parts of Slovakia and the presence of both in Austria urges for the dissemination of information about these species differences and the importance of an accurate report system. This study was partly supported by the bilateral “Action Austria-Slovakia” (founded by OeAD and SAIA)
The golden jackal is a mesocarnivore with a rapidly expanding European range, where current resident breeding populations occupy much of the Balkans, Panno-nian Basin and the Black and Caspian seas coasts. Despite numerous post-2000 records, breeding of this species in the newly colonized regions of Central and Northwestern Europe remained unconfirmed. Photography-and direct observation-based evidence obtained in 2017 from Central Bohemia, Czech Republic, indicates a northwestern shift in the breeding range over 300 km from the closest known breeding jackal population in Pannonian Basin.