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The first record of the golden jackal (Canis aureus Linnaeus, 1758) in the Russian Subarctic


The range of the golden jackal (Canis aureus Linnaeus, 1758) in Eurasia has undergone significant changes over the past decades, revealed in species expansion and range extensions. The article summarizes literature characterizing the dynamics of the species’ range in Russia, and presents data on appearances of animals far outside established ranges. Here we present the first record of the golden jackal in the northern taiga subzone of Russia in an agriculturally undeveloped region, far beyond the species’ range and its presumed ecological preferences. Species identification was confirmed by morphological and craniometrical examinations, and genetic analysis. This jackal mitochondrial DNA haplotype is associated with populations from Europe and Caucasus. The article suggests the possible routes for the jackal’s travel to this geographical location (64°40′20″ N, 43°22′56″ E) and discusses the possibility of the species inhabiting subarctic areas with severe climatic conditions. Moreover, the authors speculate on the phenomenon of range expansion of the golden jackal.

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Data availability

All biological materials collected by the authors are stored in the Pinega State Nature Reserve and Karelian Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The obtained sequence of CR mtDNA was submitted to GenBank (accession number OL323053).

Code availability

Not applicable.


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The authors thank Olga Kislova for translating this article, John Hechtel for English revision, and Luigi Boitani for proofreading it. We are also grateful to Lyudmila Topchieva and Olga Balan for their advice regarding genetic analysis. We acknowledge the reviewers of the manuscript, Rafał Kowalczyk and Jennifer Hatlauf. The authors are especially grateful to A. Lobanov for providing biological material from the jackal carcass.


The study was carried out under state order no. FMEN-2022–0003.

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Authors and Affiliations



AR received the biological material, made measurements of the animal, and prepared analytical data collection for the article. KT defined the species, prepared a review of publications, and wrote the article together with AR and AK. AK performed genetic analysis.

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Correspondence to Konstantin F. Tirronen.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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The research followed all relevant laws and ethical standards. The capture of the animal by the hunter was carried out on his own initiative and in accordance with the legislation in force in the field of hunting in the Russian Federation.

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Rykov, A.M., Kuznetsova, A.S. & Tirronen, K.F. The first record of the golden jackal (Canis aureus Linnaeus, 1758) in the Russian Subarctic. Polar Biol 45, 965–970 (2022).

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  • Golden jackal
  • Range expansion
  • Dispersal
  • Northern taiga