Golden jackal spreads throughout Europe

The golden jackal population is on the rise throughout Europe. ©Zweer de Bruin

The golden jackal (Canis aureus) has occupied Europe for about 8,000 years, but since the 1950s, its population has been on the rise, eclipsing the population of European wolves (Canis lupus lupus). Similar to the spread of coyotes (Canis latrans) to the eastern United States, the jackal once inhabited the continent’s fringes. Now, with populations throughout Eastern and Central Europe, the golden jackal has been spotted as far as France. “Scientists think jackals began to move north because wolves were targeted for eradication, particularly in the Balkans,” the Times reports.  “That opened a door, since jackals seem to avoid areas well populated by wolves.” The jackal’s spread is raising concerns of residents, particularly farmers who worry about losing livestock to the predators.

Read more here in the New York Times.