Experts have been able to confirm the presence of golden jackals in the Netherlands just three times thus far in the recent years. It is therefore still a relative ‘new’ species that the Dutch have to learn to live together with. The Dutch Mammal Society reports that DNA research from Wageningen Environmental Research shows that another golden jackal was in the Netherlands. This individual was responsible for sheep depredation last month in the Ooijpolder, near the German border.
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Opportunistic golden jackals
The golden jackal is an opportunistic feeder, which means that they eat what they find. They commonly eat fruits, seeds, rodents and garbage near human settlement. In rare occasions, they attack larger animals such as sheep if they are able to. Initially, the sheep depredation late October was reported to be potentially from a wolf. The scientists carried out the DNA analysis on behalf of the provincial authorities, and concluded it was not a wolf but its smaller relative: a golden jackal. Since then, there have been no signs of the golden jackal in the area. This indicates that the animal most likely moved elsewhere. Experts will be conducting additional field research to collect additional data.
The province of Gelderland took the necessary arrangements to compensate the farmer for their loss. Similar procedures are followed when a wolf depredation occurs. The province offers such compensations until the Netherlands have a clear national guideline how to deal with golden jackals.
It is very likely that the golden jackal in the Netherlands was the same specimen that was observed in Germany recently. Over the recent years, the golden jackal population has been rapidly expanding. Originating from south Eastern Europe, they have made their way to almost every country in the EU. Although they prefer to avoid areas with colder temperatures and long snow cover, people have spotted golden jackals also in Finland and even in the high Italian Alps. The return of the golden jackal to the human-dominated landscape could pose challenges for coexistence. However, since we know that the golden jackals are returning, people can start to inform themselves now and take measures where needed to protect their livestock.