European Wilderness Society

Room for more than 800 Dutch golden jackal families

While the first golden jackal (Canis aureus) family still needs to settle in the Netherlands, researchers calculated that there is room for at least 800 families. This already takes into account the current and potential wolf territory, which the densely populated country holds.

First appearance

The golden jackal made its public debut in The Netherlands in February 2016. On the Veluwe, which is now home to the first Dutch wolf pack, a camera trap caught one individual. Since then, it has been rather silent on the radar, but scientists are sure that the golden jackal is coming. To prepare for its arrival, and potential rapid expansion, scientists did an analysis on suitable habitats.

Golden jackals do not like areas with high elevation, long snow cover or mountainous terrain. The Netherlands has neither of those, making it already an interesting place to settle. It provides the golden jackal with many small forests with open canopies, close to human settlement. Being a family of the red fox and wolf, the golden jackal diet overlaps to a certain extent. Other research shows that territorial overlap with foxes does not impact the golden jackal distribution. Wolf territories on the other hand, are preferably avoided.

More than 800 families

The habitat suitability analysis showed that large parts of the Netherlands are suitable for golden jackal territory. Initial calculations come to a number of more than 1400 families. Taking away the areas that are likely to become wolf territory, there would still be room for 781 to 851 families. This equals to more than 3.000 individuals. It is also mentioned that these numbers are very conservative and might be underestimations.

The scientists mention that such a population of golden jackals would impact the Dutch flora and fauna. Although there is no direct threat for humans, there is potential treat for livestock. It is thus important that livestock owners implement effective livestock protection measures as soon as possible.

Please read the full study below, or access it freely here.

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