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Where do golden jackals occur in Switzerland?

Since the first record in November 2011 in the Bernese Oberland, there are more and more observations from the Ticino to Basel-Landschaft and from the Grisons to Geneva. The golden jackal can move through the landscape unobserved and can theoretically turn up anywhere in Switzerland. Current records can be found under Distribution and in the KORA Monitoring Center, respectively.

How many golden jackals are living in Switzerland?

So far, there have only been records of individual animals in Switzerland and no records of reproduction (see also Abundance). An exact estimate of the number of individuals does not exist. It is impossible to distinguish individual golden jackals from external characteristics (contrary e.g. to lynx with their coat pattern). A genetic monitoring – as for the wolf – can also not be easily implemented for the golden jackals, as scats cannot be identified in the field as belonging to golden jackal.

Are golden jackals a protected species?

Yes, they are protected in Switzerland according to the Swiss hunting law (JSG; SR 922.0; see also Portrait, section status & threats).

Where do the golden jackals in Switzerland originate from?

The golden jackal originally occurs from south-eastern Europe to India. Since the 1950s, it has been spreading from south-eastern Europe to the (north-)west (see also Distribution, sections Europe and global, as well as Portrait, section History in Switzerland). As an immigrant from neighbouring areas, it is not an introduced/alien species.

What does a golden jackal look like and how do I differentiate it from a fox and/or wolf?

The morphology of the golden jackal is described under Portrait, in the section Characteristics. The images above show the comparison of wolf, golden jackal and fox, pictured at the same camera trap site. The wolf is the largest of the three species, with a relatively short, bushy tail and a stockier body. The fox is the smallest with a characteristically long tail and a black backside of the ears. The golden jackal is daintier than the wolf, but does not have the long tail of the fox.

Does a golden jackal kill sheep and other livestock?

Solitary living golden jackals generally prey on small animals, similarly to the fox (see also Portrait, section Diet). Golden jackals living in groups are also able to prey on larger animals, such as sheep. The data on livestock depredation by golden jackals in Switzerland can be found under Depredation.

Will golden jackals pose a competition to foxes?

Golden jackals are dominant towards foxes. Studies from other countries have shown that foxes, e.g. do not approach carrion when golden jackals are present. This behaviour has also already been observed between foxes and lynx. Additionally, hunting bags in certain areas of eastern Europe show a numerical change away from foxes towards golden jackals.

Do golden jackals have enemies?

The main natural enemy of the golden jackal is the wolf. However, humans must also be mentioned: golden jackals may be killed in traffic, or may be shot either mistakenly or deliberately (i.e. poached). In other countries, the golden jackal is a huntable species.

Is the golden jackal even necessary?

This question is often asked for animal species, whose presence is not approved by all people. With its natural immigration, the golden jackal is part of the native fauna. As a predator, it plays a significant role in the interactions of species and habitats and the corresponding evolutionary processes. As such, it is an integral part of the biodiversity which is the foundation also of our existence.

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