GOlden JAckal informal study Group Europe

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What we do?

This group is open to anyone who wants to get involved in the study of jackals and relationships that it develops to biodiversity and human activities.


GOJAGE has no management structures and is not subject to any kind of policies or demands by administrative or scientific organizations.


The sole purpose of creating this group is to gather information about the golden jackal and related species and to communicate joint research activities and specialized monitoring for the golden jackal species.


LEGAL FRAMEWORK 2021 applicable to EU , NOT IAS


The golden jackal (​Canis aureus) 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​). 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​ (as listed in ​Annex​ II, IV and ​V​) of Community interest.


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 the conservation status.


The main results of this monitoring need to be reported to the Commission every six years according to Article 17 of the Directive. Article 14 places a requirement for further surveillance of exploited species of flora and fauna listed in Annex V where necessary. Only after monitoring and scientific reports to the Commission, management measures can be assessed. When management measures are applied in case of ​Community Interest species ​like the golden jackal or chamois a series of hunting methods should be avoided. These hunting methods which are ​prohibited are listed in the Annex VI of the "Habitats Directive" 92/43/EEC


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GOJAGE does not have administrative structure

Text updated 2013-2014


   The European distribution of this species has been noticeably modified in the last sixty years, due to the increase of its Croatian and Bulgarian populations and to the natural trend to long dispersal rates of the species (KRYŠTUFEK & TVRTKOVIC, 1990; KRYŠTUFEK et al., 1997; ARNOLD et al., 2011).

In the XX Century the first pulsation of its distribution-range in North Adriatic Hinterland dated back to the first years of 50’s, when some packs of golden jackals arrived in North-Western and Central Slovenia (BRELIH, 1955).

   A second bigger pulsation began in 80’s and a third impressive expansion seems to have started at the beginning of the XXI Century (LAPINI et al., 2009; KRYŠTUFEK, 2011). The present situation is a consequence of the above-mentioned range pulsations, particularly due to the drastic reduction of the Balkan populations of wolves, culminated at the end of the first half of the XX Century (KRYŠTUFEK & TVRTKOVIC, 1990; KRYŠTUFEK et al., 1997).

The influences of the recent Climate Global Changes on this general picture are not clear yet, but might be negligible, because the main factors involved in the modification of the range of the species seems to be clearly anthropogenic (Lapini et al 2011).

   In the last decade, there has been an increase in jackal records in areas where the species has not been reported before. Increased presence is recorded northwards and westwards of the distribution range of the golden jackal, specifically in Hungary, Serbia and Slovakia. In Austria, the first case of reproduction was confirmed in 2007; reproduction has also recently been reported in Italy (Arnold et al 2011). Golden jackal is becoming a species of great economic impact in southeastern Europe due to its increasing number and to its influence on game losses (Stoyanov, 2012).

   In recent past, distribution boundaries of the golden jackal species in SE Europe fluctuated and two main centres of distribution were identified: 1) Eastern Thrace (Turkey) and Strandja Mountains (Bulgaria). 2) Dalmatia and Northern Greece (Demeter & Spassov, 1993). The Pannonian population became extinct around the middle of the twentieth century. During the last few decades there has been a great expansion in the Jackal’s range within Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania, and vagrants occasionally appear far outside the Balkans, in north-eastern Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia (Krystufeket al., 1997). New records and determined estimates of densities are available in Greece (Giannatos, 2004), Croatia and Slovenia (Krofel, 2006; 2008), Italy (Lapini et al., 2009; 2011), Hungary (Szabó et al., 2007), Serbia (Cirović, 2007 pers. comm), Romania (Banea, 2011; Banea et al., 2012) and new sightings have been recently reported from areas where jackals were completely absent or rare as occurred in Cantons of Waadt, Bern and Freiburg in Switzerland (Kora news, 2012) and in Ghiduleni village, Rezina county in Republic of Moldavia (Radio Orhei news, 2012).


   Stable population of jackals occurs in lowlands of Dniester River and Odessa Oblast Southern Ukraine since 1998 (Rozhenko N, 2013 pers comm) while in Northern Ukraine were registered as vagrant on 15th of October 2013 (Zagorodniuk I, 2013 pers comm).

   In Estonia, 2 jackals were killed in 2013, in February and August 2013 (Peep Männil, pers comm.). In the vicinity of Salevere N58.70217º, E 023.57977º Läänemaa (West Estonia) was registered at least one territorial group during BALTICA 2013, jackal survey organized by Matsalu National Park Reserve Administration and NGO Crispus Sibiu (Papp et al, 2013). On 26th of December 2013 jackal female was removed by hunter near Jelgava close to Lielupe River in central Latvia. (The news appeared on 9th of January 2014).


   These records show the elusive character of its biogeography, which remains unknown and that jackals are still expanding. Pulsations from regions where species reached good density were incriminated as being the main factor of jackal expansion together with habitat specialist behaviour or human infrastructure. Based on literature and sightings, a cyclic pattern of jackal local dynamic was observed during the last 70 years in Bulgaria (Spassov, 2007) and Romania (Banea et al., 2012) with a period of 10-15 years, while other three big pulsations could be observed in central Europe during 50s, 80s and 2000s.


   Other factors for their dispersal into Central Europe, according to Giannatos (ex verbis), could be: plains and low altitude as no barriers, daytime refuge (lowland plantations, few small forest remnants, riverside or channel-side dense vegetation), big rivers catchments (e.g. Danube and tributaries), probably less snowy winters and a large food base from anthropogenic sources (agriculture, livestock, hunting units). While in Greece, Giannatos (2004) concluded that the number of jackals is decreasing and in Hungary the expansion of jackal has been considered “invasive” due to exponential growth (Szabó et al., 2007) remains unclear how the species develops its settlement in other European countries without having data on several years and observing the dynamic on time (Papp et al 2013).

News 2021