A hunter in the southeastern region of Austria might have recorded the presence of another Golden jackal. However, experts from the Austrian Golden jackal project wait for hard evidence from this region to confirm this. The potential sighting follows a sighting from, what is most likely, a golden jackal family in Austria earlier last year. Goldschakal Projekt Österreich started in 2015, with support from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna. In cooperation with the Institute for Wildlife Biologie and Game Management, the project aims to establish a monitoring standard with international cooperation.
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The golden jackal is spreading through Europe at a fast pace. They originated from the southern European and Asian regions, but people observed them all the way into Denmark and the Netherlands already. Recently, the first jackals were caught on camera in France. From the latest updates, people believe that the jackal is still around in that area.
Competition with hunters?
Hunters in Europe worry about the return of carnivores, including the wolf and golden jackal. However, the impact of jackals on wild ungulates seems to be questionable and needs more investigation. In Hungary, where the jackal is widely present, hunting statistics on a large scale do not seem to decrease over time. In some areas, hunted game numbers fluctuate. Yet, in other areas there is a continuous increase of hunted wildlife.
As an opportunistic feeder, the jackal does not always actively hunt deer and wild boar. It often scavenges food and remains of hunted animals. Scientists analysed diets of hundreds of animals. As a result, the diet proportion of ungulates varied between 8 and 30%, which indicates the flexibility of the jackal’s diet.
Golden jackal not completely safe in Austria
The golden jackal is listed in Annex V of the Flora and Fauna Habitat Directives. This means that all European countries must ensure a favourable conservation status of the jackal. All countries should monitor the jackal population, especially if they consider management measures.
In most part of Austria, the jackal is protected by the Nature Conservation Act. For example, in the four states Styria, Burgenland, Salzburg and Corinthia, the hunting law includes the jackal, and restricts hunting all year round. However, the hunting law in Upper Austria included the jackal as well, but allows legal killing of jackals from October till March 15th each year.
Find more detailed information in a new article about the golden jackal in Austria, written by J. Hatlauf MSc and Prof. K. Hackländer, here.