Tuesday, December 13, 2016

ALERT! Otis tarda and jackals in Burgenland Austria, relation to be monitored!

by Ovidiu C. Banea

It seems, (news HERE) that Environmental Board Authorities from Burgenland Austria are preparing a law to become in discussion and possible applied during the coming January 2017 on the hot topic of declaring or not, jackal species as IAS (Invasive Alien Species). Just by supposition that jackal species could appear in the natural areal of the great bustard Otis tarda, Game Mangement Authority is close to name jackals as IAS and purpose specific harvesting and hunting management, while is known that in Austria only few jackal sightings were reported in the recent past, and these at the Hungarian border.

GOJAGE remembers Austrian Game Management Authorities that a condition to be fill before every kind of management measure in case of the golden jackal species is to demonstrate the exponential growth of the actual living population, this after colonization period, then to assure the allochtonous character, which in case of jackal species it was already demonstrated to be errouneously considered, as the species is considered a natural colonizer, and yes ultimately to be demonstrated a direct negative impact to protected or endangered biota. In this case, if a possible negative impact relation could be demonstrated in relation to Otis tarda, the species requiers an International debate and scientific studies to be eventually considered in a determined area with "Invasiveness" not even IAS, being perfect possible to be declared full protected in the proximal land. More data and "Letter of Complaint" in the Baltic case (here). This letter and arguments determined Lithuanian authorities and from other Baltic states to avoid Invasive Alien Species nomenclature in case of the European golden jackal.
The great bustard Otis tarda (in green resident populations)

Otis tarda Factsheet (European Union)

Although the great bustard has a wide range, its population in Europe is now highly fragmented, surviving only in relatively isolated pockets in a few EU Member States (half the EU population is found in Spain). The threats are relatively well known : 

• Agricultural intensification: the most critical threat comes from continued habitat loss resulting from ploughing up grasslands, intensifying cereal production to mono-cropping or permanent crops, and irrigating dry culture land;
• Infrastructure development: other land use changes such as afforestation, construction of roads, powerlines, wind farms, housing etc. in or near the species range also causes habitat loss and significant disturbance leading to a reduced breeding success;
• Application of certain agricultural practices: the use of herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers in core bird habitat, ploughing of fallow in spring, early harvesting and burning of stubble in summer can destroy nests, poison adults and reduce food sources;
• Change of crops: a reduction in alfalfa or other leguminous winter crops affects the birds’ chances of survival due to reduced food sources and cover in winter;
• Overgrazing: inappropriate grazing management may damage breeding grounds;
• Collision with powerlines: bustards are big birds, their poor manoeuvrability in flight renders them unable to evade poorly marked powerlines. Collision with overhead cables is a significant cause of death in some countries. Small populations can be totally destroyed by a single powerline;
• Human disturbance: disturbance causes stress, desertion of clutches, and in the case of young birds, a reduction in time spent feeding. Disturbance at the display sites disrupts social behaviour and usually prevents reproduction;
Predation: eggs and chicks are predated by foxes, corvids and dogs

The question of how jackals could affect negatively the great bustard remains to be addressed to the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management (BMLFUW) and ask a detailed integrate monitoring to Otis tarda species, red foxes, and also for jackals and other known threats identification in the specified natural areas to assess the species applied ecology and natural areas invasibility before every management measure which may produce irreversible effects to golden jackal species.
The Golden jackal is a Community Interest species ("Habitats Directive" 92/43/EEC) listed in Annex Va together with pine marten (Martes martes), European polecat (Mustela putorius) and chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) between other mammals. Monitoring of conservation status is an obligation arising from Article 11 of the Habitats Directive for all habitats (as listed in Annex I) and species of Community interest (as listed in Annex II, IV and V) . Consequently this provision is not restricted to Natura 2000 sites and data need to be collected both in and outside the Natura 2000 network to achieve a full appreciation of conservation status. The main results of this monitoring have to be reported to the Commission every six years according to Article 17 of the directive.
After all, the Golden jackal invasiveness, the arrival (introduced by humans?), spreading and establishing of a new survival population, should be carefully assessed and in regions with high invasibility degree to be differentiate of the erroneously discussed IAS (invasive alien species) nomenclature, which in case of the Golden jackal was largely assessed by several European research groups and scientific community (European Commission ALERT: Jackal should not be considered as IAS in Europe).

13th of December 2016
Reykjavik, Iceland

AXA WZL 2017, jackal susceptible ecological system monitoring in Lithuania

by Ovidiu C. Banea

During the period 13th-16th January 2017 a team organized by Gintarė Žalkauskaitė from Baltijos Vilkas NGO Vilnius Lithuania and Ovidiu C. Banea from Ecology Department of NGO Crispus Sibiu Romania will perform bio-acoustic monitoring in natural areas susceptible to be jackal specific ecological systems in Southern Lithuania. The winter wildlife survey it is named AXA WZL 2017 after the names of protected natural areas, national parks and agriculture farmlands where the activities will take place: Wigry National Park (NE Poland), Žuvinto Biosphere Reserve with Cepkeliai Nature Reserve near Dzukija National Park and Labanoras National Park. During this winter stage a number of more than 40 calling stations will be installed in Lithuania. These points will be used systematically for future jackal density determinations, to evaluate if this species will be able to spread and establish survival clusters and teritorial groups in the region. During the meeting the organizers will share experience of wolf, jackal and other carnivore species ecological system integrative monitoring during a brief International Colloquium.

AXA WZL 2017 GOJAGE Winter wildlife survey in Lithuania

Protected areas: SCI and SPA

Wolves distribution map

Lynx distribution map

Red foxes distribution map

Wigry NE Poland,  Žuvinto Biosphere Reserve and Cepkeliai-Dzukija National Park

Labanoro NP

New data on jackal jackal monitoring Austria

Jennifer Hatlauf presented in 2015, her Master thesis on "Potenzieller Lebensraum des Goldschakals (Canis aureus) - Status, Habitatfaktoren und Modellierungsansatz" with an important review on recent European available literature regarding jackal species. This work included Geographic Information Systems models on jackal distribution according to few described ecological factors like wetland preferences and water stream proximity between others. After this extensive work, Jennifer started to evaluate systematically jackal density in few Austrian natural areas using Bio Acoustic Monitoring, the technique introduced in Europe by Environmental Ecologist, Mr Giorgos Giannatos in 2001. This technique is used now by several research groups accross Europe (Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Croatia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Ukraine, Germany and Romania).
Together with Prof Dr Häcklender, Jennifer presented an actualized data with recent jackal sightings in Austria during the last conference meeting in Germany (here).

New data on golden jackal in Slovakia

On 24th-26th of November in Nitra, Slovakia, took place ZOOLOGIA 2016 congress and there were presented new interesting data on jackal numbers evolution in Slovakia during the last 2-3 decades. Despite the unclear and not explained methodology of recent estimations (alive population in 2015 was as being of 90 individuals according to guess and eye estimation of possible local rangers sightings or reports) data of this report show that jackals are having difficulties in establish survival populations in the region. The harvested last bag data reached 10 individuals (harvest data evolution in the last 20 years). For now, is not clear if in Slovakia the vagrant individuals could establish territorial groups or these reports are coming from accidental culling when hunting is performed to other game species. Nuno Guimarães, the main author of this communication, from Department of Biology and Ecology Matej Bel University started an intensive survey on jackal specific ecological systems and is planning to do BAM in key areas together with colleagues from GOJAGE Austria to find out if the existing few jackal individuals are able to survive in the complex and complete with congeneric species environment. ABSTRACT HERE.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Golden Jackal (Canis aureus) species in Ukraine

An update situation of golden jackal expansion in Ukraine was sent to GOJAGE by our colleague Dr Igor Zagorodniuk from National Museum of Natural History of Ukraine (HERE).

New golden jackal bachelor thesis (Geography)

On 6 of April 2016, Mrs Gianna Jann sustained her thesis regarding the chorology of the golden jackal in Europe. Advisor: Dr. Klaus Schützenmeister at University Köblenz-Landau, Mainz Germany

This is an updated review of the golden jackal biogeography in Europe including the movements and last specimens sightings in Denmark, Netherlands, Poland and Germany.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Injured golden jackal on a bike piste was released after 2 months treatment in NE Italy

by Luca Lapini & Ovidiu Banea

GOJAGE, 3rd of July 2016

On 10th of April 2016 a male golden jackal was injured and quickly translated to ENPA (L'Ente Nazionale per la Protezione degli Animali). After two month and 10 days the jackal was released back to the natural environment, on 21st of June 2016. The specimen was already reported by Lapini, Caldana and Amori in annual report of species trends and evolution (here)

While in countries from Central and Eastern Europe jackals are intensively hunted (Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia) despite of jackal legal framework that stressed that jackal is communitary interest species and needs that before any population management, an accurate populations monitoring must be done as in case of chamoix, martens or polecats (as they all are listed in the same Vth Annex of EU Habitats Directive). Italy gave us a strong example of how humans are looking for nature equilibrium and species conservation. Evolution and trends of Italian population here (by Lapini, Caldana, Amori, 2016)

The explicit movie (here) of released specimen had more than 30.000 views in 24h. 
GOJAGE expresses the most sincere congratulations to all the members of ENPA and to scientific community involved on this amazing, emotionant and recontiliation with nature event.

(Full story in Italian and movie on the bottom of the article, HERE TriestePrima "Cronaca" 22 June 2016)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Jackal population increases in Italy

by Luca Lapini

A complete analysis of the data at 10-years intervals reveal that its current range is increasing, particularly in the last decade (2005-2015). The overall data indicates that the expansion waves of jackals in Italy are influenced by the already known expansion phases of the species in Europe, but in the last years the populations of north-eastern Italy turned out to be an autonomous source of expansion, thanks both (first) to some long-lasting populations of the Karst of Gorizia and (second) to the formation of new groups dwelling in the centre of Friuli Venezia Giulia Region (Pordenone Province). A poster including new data was presented in Viterbo Italy during the 

Teatro Boni - Acquapendente (VT) 20-23 Aprile 2016

Evolution and trends of the populations of Canis aureus moreoticus in Italy (here)
Luca Lapini, Mauro Caldana & Giovanni Amori

Monday, March 28, 2016

Lack of jackal competitors in Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan, India

Aakriti Singh et al published new research regarding food availability and lack of competition in jackal specific ecological systems from Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan. The work was published on-line on 21st of March 2016 in Mammal Research ISSN: 2199-2401 (Print) 2199-241X (Online).
Using distance sampling method the authors found a density of 14.84 individuals/km2 (5 territorial groups). The authors concluded that the lack of any major competitor and high food resource availability has led to a several fold increase in the population size of golden jackal in a span of 3 decades.
The human activity is high in surroundings of the park (more than 15 villages), inside the park are a lot of ferral cattle which seems to have some effect on the density of jackals. 
In the close future Keoladeo National Park will represent one of the prefered study areas for Crispus NGO Sibiu Romania and GOJAGE when holistic approach of jackal specific ecological systems will be assessed. As we mentioned in previous post (here) bioacoustic monitoring (BAM) is preferable to be performed in this protected natural area in order to compare data with the actual jackal density estimations obtained by distance sampling method.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Jackal in Netherlands?

Golden Jackal C3 Category, first report in Netherlands

Few days ago GOJAGE received the news of a possible jackal in Netherlands. This report was analyzed by Crispus NGO Sibiu Romania with the key-analysis using the new GOJAGE Guidlines. The full report and story here.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

New GOJAGE Expert Criteria for new jackal reports assessment

Assessment of golden jackal species (Canis aureus, L.1758) records in natural areas out of their known historic range
Technical Report: GOJAGE  Criteria and Guidelines

12 of February 2016  GOJAGE e-Bulletin
Jennifer HATLAUF, Ovidiu C. BANEA, Luca LAPINI
2016 © GOJAGE


Golden jackals show an increasing long-distance dispersal from their known historic geographic range into new areas (Rutkowski et al. 2015). Only in the last years, single golden jackal individuals were reported in Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany or Denmark and a survival cluster of 5 territorial groups (Männil 2016, pers. comm.) is monitored in West Estonia. 

The known historic range of the golden jackal species including large parts of Eurasia and Africa was recently reconsidered since the results of new genetic studies suggest that African golden jackals merit recognition as a full species, as they meet the primary defining criterion of a separate and independently evolving metapopulation lineage (Rueness et al. 2011; Gaubert et al. 2012; Koepfli et al. 2015). Accordingly, it was proposed that the common names ‘‘African golden wolf’’ (Canis anthus) and ‘‘Eurasian golden jackal’’ (Canis aureus) be applied to distinguish these taxa, and to distinguish the former from the Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis). The African golden wolf is distributed across Africa and includes individuals that have been referred to as Canis lupus lupaster or Canis aureus, sensu lato. Morphologic parallelism of African golden wolves and Eurasian golden jackals may have resulted in their mistaken attribution to a single species (Koepfli et al. 2015)

Over the past two decades evidences northward and westward of the known historic range, mostly the Balkan area, were recorded (Kryštufek et al. 1997; Arnold et al. 2011). The native and naturally colonized range of golden jackals in Europe include now Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Moldova, Ukraine, Turkey, Caucasus countries, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany and Denmark. Central and South-East Europe have now a very important role in the golden jackal species conservation since the European or Caucasian golden jackal (Canis aureus moreoticus, I. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1835) is known as having its main populations in Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary and Romania.

The main problem in assessing golden jackal proof in new areas is inexperience due to the novelty and rareness of these situations to this point. This report aims to establish common criteria within European countries and abroad for golden jackal species new records that are reported in areas within naturally colonized range.


Direct and indirect methods used by GOJAGE


Distinction of golden jackal (Canis aureus, L. 1758) evidences   

Friday, February 12, 2016

Master's Thesis from Austria

Master's Thesis 

by Jennifer Hatlauf, 2015

In recent years, the golden jackal (Canis aureus) is gaining attention in Central Europe and increased evidence confirms its distribution, also towards Austria. From the originating countries of the Balkans it expands its area in a natural way (Schwarz, 2013). Previous studies show a large habitat plasticity, which leads to the question whether the golden jackal will be able to find permanently suitable habitat in Austria.
As a result of a literature review this masterthesis presents the summary of identified factors that may play a crucial role in habitat selection of the golden jackal. Despite its generalistic nature, close to its opportunistic choice of food and its adaptability, it is possible to discern trends in its habitat selection: access here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

RoHilac BioStars, applied ecology in jackal specific ecological systems of Romania

RoHilac BioStars        Romania 2016-2020

The "biologic lights" of the night

by Ovidiu C. Banea
Barcelona 9th of February 2016

Age determination, stomach content analysis, parasitology, genetic studies, ecological factors responsible of jackal density studied with bioacoustic monitoring, IR and motion sensor video cameras, dynamic of clusters in target areas will all consitute the holistic approach of jackal ecology and behavior in natural areas from Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, protected natural areas and hunting terrains from Romania during the next 4 years. RoHilac BioStars is a technical plan which will include several projects. Finally, we aim to understand and act better on jackal specific ecological systems using the principles of applied ecology and to contribute to a Conservation Action Plan of jackal species in Romania. (Here full story and photoreport of CERNICA 2016)
Jackal stomach (16 specimens)

Age determination by pulp cavity-tooth width ratio (first used in analyzing the age of a young jackal female together with zoologist Peep Männil in Matsalu National Park, West Estonia during Baltica 2013) and dentine cementum layers counting on 14 jackals (this method and a combination of the former with the layers counting, was first used in jackals by Ovidiu C. Banea on 8th of February 2016) .
The above photo coresponds to three jackal upper canine analysis. The determinated age of the left specimen was estimated at 34 months, in middle the upper canine belongs to a 24 months old jackal and the right upper canine belongs to a 10 months old jackal.

Pulp-cavity/Tooth width ratio in lower right canine (one jackal studied in Estonia by Peep Männil & Ovidiu Banea 2013, O. Banea 2016). The best for analysis as reflected in available literature for other canids is the upper canine. In the analysis was used pulp-cavity/tooth width ratios and cemmentum layers counting for 14 upper canines from legally removed jackals in southern Romania during January 2016.
Team of Cernica, first RoHilac BioStars non-finnanced activity, organized by AGVPS (from left to the right): Prof Dr Călin Gherman (USAMV Cluj-Napoca), DVM Angela M. Ionică (USAMV Cluj-Napoca), Eng Dr Vladimir Talpes (AGVPS), Ecol MSc Ovidiu Banea (Crispus NGO), Eng Dr Neculai Selaru (AGVPS)

A jackal is checked for ocular dirofilariasis by PhD candidate Angela M. Ionică (USAMV Cluj-Napoca, Romania)

Jackal possible ecological factor during winters in South Romania

Age determination by dentine cemmentum layers counting in golden jackal species, method first time used for age determination of jackals on 8th of February 2016. The method will be used within the project to evaluate the structure of population clusters from targeted study areas. This tool together with BAM will help us to determine the years with lower jackal offsprings in order to assess conservation and management plan at local levels.

The technical plan named RoHilac BioStars will be implemented by Ecology Department of Crispus NGO Sibiu (Environmental Ecologist MSc. Ovidiu C-tin Banea, designer of RoHilac BioStars technical plan) together with General Association of Hunters and Sports Fishermen from Romania (GAHSF) and University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca.
Cristian-Remus Papp, during Sistem 2012, jackal habitat autumn wildlife survey, Photo: O. Banea

International golden jackal species experts Dr Duško Ćirović (Institute of Zoology, Faculty of Biology, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia), Dr Nikolai Spassov (National History Museum, Sofia Bulgaria) and Dr Giorgos Giannatos (Department of Zoology - Marine Biology, School of Biology, University of Athens, Greece) will be involved in this project.

First activity was already performed in base of a cooperation protocol between Ecology Department of Crispus NGO and GAHSF. 17 golden jackals and 4 foxes were analyzed near Bucharest.
Other projects within RoHilac BioStars technical plan will be organized by Crispus NGO and other NGOs or Environmental Board authorities like WWF Romania, ARBDD (DDBRA), etc.

Full story, RoHilac BioStars technical plan disclosure and photoreport of Cernica 2016 first broader activity of jackal ecology assessment together with Eng Dr. Neculai Selaru (AGVPS) and Prof. Dr. Calin Gherman (USAMV Cluj-Napoca) here (aici).

Thursday, January 21, 2016



Light at the end of the tunnel! 

Golden jackals are on the focus of the EU Environmental Policies

by Wieslaw Bogdanowicz & Ovidiu C. Banea

The authors of the recent study by Rutkowski R, Krofel M, Giannatos G, Ćirović D, Männil P, Volokh AM, et al. (2015) named A European Concern? Genetic Structure and Expansion of Golden Jackals (Canis aureus) in Europe and the Caucasus and published in PLoS ONE  recommend that the golden jackal should be monitored and its favourable conservation status ensured in all Member States within the current species range. The authors suggest developing cross-boundary strategies for management and documents like those developed for Europe’s other large carnivores.

Now, based in this Original Article, the EU published a report on their weekly Science for Environment Policy News Alert, Issue 443, 21 January 2016 in which explained the legal situation and the reasons to do not consider jackals an invasive alien species.

Friday, January 15, 2016

New record of jackals in Italy (Maniago, Pordenone)

by Luca Lapini

On 2-3 Dicember 2015 our friend Mauro Caldana obtained excellent camera trap - video of a golden jackal near a big waste dump in locality Cossana (Maniago, Pordenone). 

Together with L. Dreon and F. Marcolin, on 5th of December 2015 we attempted to stimulate jackal responses with a single standard jackal howling session near the garbage dump. At least two distinct specimens were foraging in the dump. They responded to the second and to the fifth stimulation, from different zones of the dump. 

It is the first sure datum for the golden jackal in the province of Pordenone, indicating that at present there are at least four reproductive groups in Friuli Venezia Giulia region. The situation needs further researches, but also to be divulgated to avoid accidental killing, in Italy very frequent during fox culling.