I have never heard about you before, who are you?
Funny that you mention that. It seems that many people don’t know me, while I have been in Europe for many years during the last centuries. Many people who might see me, confuse me with a fox. I would say I’m a fox in disguise. It’s like I am the big brother of the fox, but I am smaller than the wolf. My family came from Africa many years ago, and I have some distant relatives in the States, where people call them coyotes. Hey, are your working for the European Wilderness Society?
Yes and I love it! Are you good friends with the humans around you?
I don’t really mind being around humans, because they often provide me with easy food. You know, I am actually very flexible in that sense. I can live in a lot of different places, but I especially like those waste dumps. Call me an opportunist, I just eat what I can find. And besides your left-over hamburgers, I like to hunt some rodents, amphibians, insects, fruits and veggies. You can’t really say that I’m a carnivore, instead I see myself as an omnivore, just like you!
So, you can live everywhere you want?
Well, I don’t really like snow. It’s just too cold for me. But for the rest I don’t care too much. This global warming thing that humans caused really helps me, the rising temperatures in Europe remind me of the good old days in Africa. That is also why you see me spreading though Europe so fast. But for me it also depends what my wife wants. We’ve been together for quite some years now, and we will stay together of course. She’s my life partner, I was so lucky to meet her in Hungary.
And now you are quickly expanding in Europe, like other invasive species.
Hold it right there, I’m not an invasive species. Invasive species were introduced by your kind, I came on my own power all the way from Africa. Can I get a bit of credit for that? I don’t need humans to survive, I can take care of myself. But it’s true, my family is all over the place now. I heard they have been seen in a wide range from the Netherlands to Denmark and Italy to Ukraine. Did you know there are already thousands of us in Hungary? And even beyond Europe, you can find us all the way to India and northern Africa.
What is with you and gold, are you hiding it somewhere?
Ah, you mean my name? That is just something humans have come up with. I have to tell you a secret, I don’t really have gold. Just like my African nephews, the silver-backed jackal doesn’t have silver. My fur just looks a bit gold, although I would say yellow-brownish. You can clearly recognize me with my black patch on the back and white throat. And since I’m just about 50 centimetres high, I easily disappear in the tall grass.
What are you scared off?
There are not a lot of things I am scared off, but if I should choose one thing, it would be my bigger relative: the wolf. These guys are also marching through Europe, but they are often mean to me, so I try to avoid them. Sometimes I will try to snatch their left-overs, but I have to make sure they don’t catch me.
Should we be scared of you?
You don’t really have to be afraid. Just don’t feed me, I will find enough food on my own. And if you want to keep your pets and livestock, it might be good to use some electric fences and protect your animals, just in case. I mean, easy food is easy food. It would be a shame if everybody gets mad at me, just because I am hungry and people don’t protect their animals.