We received a call from a man who had been feeding an Asiatic golden jackal (Canis aureus) in his garden for the past two years after it ‘wandered’ into his garden in search for food as an infant. The WFFT Wildlife Rescue Team headed out to investigate and see what could be done. Upon arrival the team were surprised that a jackal had wandered into an urban area seeking food, this is not a common occurrence. The provision of food to wild animals might seem like a good idea, and to many people seem like you are helping the animal. In reality most instances of humans feeding wildlife ends badly, i.e. the animal relies solely on the food provided by the humans and often loses any will or instincts to find its own food. Human wildlife conflicts occur also, animals come into people’s house looking for food and in some instances may even attack. In this instance the jackal had started killing the chickens of the local inhabitants, he had killed over 50. It was decided that we would capture the jackal to prevent any further conflict with the residents of the area.
Due to their tolerance of dry habitats and their omnivorous diet, the golden jackal can live in a wide variety of habitats. They are opportunistic and will venture into human habitation at night to feed on garbage. Over its entire range, except in protected areas like National Parks and Sanctuaries, the jackal population is steadily declining. Traditional land use practices, like livestock rearing and dry farming that were conducive to the survival of jackals and other wildlife, are being steadily replaced by industrialization and intensive agriculture; wilderness areas and rural landscapes are being rapidly urbanized. Jackal populations adapt to some extent to this change and may persist for a while, but eventually disappear from such areas like other wildlife.
‘Kong’ as the man that was feeding him named him, seems in good health, apart from being a little over weight. We have a large forested area for the resident jackals here at WFFT so Kong will be introduced to them once he has gone through a quarantine period.