French fauna beginner: golden jackal

This dog from Eastern Europe has been added to the list of predators in France. After several formal observations, this animal is in the process of permanent settlement of the territory. Good news for biodiversity conservation.

What is a golden jackal?

The golden jackal is a “A wild canid of intermediate size between the red fox and the gray wolf. Its height at the withers is 45/50 cm with a weight of 8 to 15 kg. AGAINSTas its name suggests, its coat is quite golden in color, and its tail is much shorter than that of a fox, and overall quite fluffy.”. A specialist in the wildlife of Haute-Savoie, during his observations, noticed that the animal “night and twilight customs. The golden jackal is relatively undemanding to its habitat (forests, wetlands, vast agricultural lands) and feeds mainly on small prey (rodents) and carrion (wild boar, deer, etc.).”

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The animal is difficult to observe

Several methods can be used to identify species in France, but photography remains the most effective way to prove the presence of this inconspicuous animal. “All data on the jackal confirmed to date in France come from photographs or videos taken with a camera trap.clarifies Christophe Gilles. Direct observation is extremely difficult, rare and accidental. This is also not conclusive proof of his presence, as the wolf and the fox are often confused..

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Today it is difficult to accurately determine the population size of the jackals living in the territory, but the arrival of this mammal remains relatively recent, and its observation is still limited to a few divisions. “For the first time, a jackal was observed in France at the end of 2017 in the Haute-Savoie department. Since then, two more confirmed sightings have been made elsewhere in France in late 2020, one in Bouches-du-Rhone and the other in Deux-Sèvres. At the beginning of 2022, the second sector of presence in Haute-Savoie was officially defined.He says. One individual is observed each time, usually a young male, seeking territory..

Well established in Europe

Just like the wolf before him, the golden jackal naturally arrived through the frontier countries. For Christophe Gilles, his presence is due to his ability “walk hundreds of kilometers from your birthplace to colonize new sectors“. In other European countries, its expansion is impressive. golden jackal now “In Western Europe, Northern Europe, and some have even crossed the Arctic Circle. The nearest breeding populations are in northeastern Italy, and most recently the first breeding group was found in Germany, about 100 km from the French border. Several observations have also been made in Switzerland over the past ten years. Therefore, we are fortunate that we are faced with the natural arrival of a species of large mammals in our territory.“.

A new fang that has no status yet

“This species takes its place in our ecosystems. His arrival is very good news.” says Stephanie Morel, head of the terrestrial biodiversity project at France Nature Environment. “Our goal is to have the golden jackal listed as a protected mammal. It is present in the annexes to the European Habitat, Fauna and Flora Directive and it obliges France to ensure that the species is maintained in a favorable conservation status.”. The animal does not yet have a status in France, it is not protected, but it cannot be hunted or caught.

Farmers are not in danger

The golden jackal, although one of the predators, will not pose a threat to herds of sheep, goats and cattle. For Stephanie Morel, “He will not attack the herds. A sheep or goat is too big for this species.”.

Read also: Faune-france.org: a new collaborative science tool

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