European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 60, Issue 2, pp 193–200 | Cite as

Population densities and habitat use of the golden jackal (Canis aureus) in farmlands across the Balkan Peninsula

  • Martin Šálek
  • Jaroslav Červinka
  • Ovidiu C. Banea
  • Miha Krofel
  • Duško Ćirović
  • Ivana Selanec
  • Aleksandra Penezić
  • Stanislav Grill
  • Jan Riegert
Original Paper


The main objective of this study was to analyze the habitat use and population densities of the golden jackal in four countries across lowland regions of the Balkan Peninsula, known as the core area of the species' distribution in Europe. Using indirect (acoustic) method for detecting territorial golden jackals, we surveyed jackal presence and densities on 331 monitoring sites in four countries, covering area an of 4,296 km2 in total during April and May 2007–2012. We used GIS to assess landscape and environmental characteristics in a 2-km circular buffer (12.6 km2) around calling stations. Average population density of golden jackals in the study areas ranged between 0.6 and 1.1 territorial groups/10 km2 (mean ± SE, 0.6 ± 0.06 groups/10 km2), with several high-density areas with up to 4.8 territorial groups/10 km2. Analysis of habitat use showed that for both jackal occurrence and number of jackal groups, the only significant parameter was the interaction between country and intensity of agriculture, indicating that jackals adapt their habitat selection patterns in relation to the habitat availability. We observed that selection of the more suitable habitats (shrub–herbaceous vegetation/heterogeneous agricultural vegetation) increased with lower proportion of these habitat types in the study area. Our study confirms high habitat plasticity of the golden jackal and offers explanation for its recent range expansion, which might be connected with the land use changes during the last decades in the Balkan Peninsula.


Golden jackal Acoustic monitoring Population density Habitat use GIS Farmland Balkan Peninsula 



We are grateful to Aleš Lipičnik, Nadja Osojnik, and Aleš Sedlar for their help in the field. We thank Giorgos Giannatos, Nikolai Spassov, Luca Lapini, Stoyan Stoyanov, and Dumitru Murariu for their scientific and technical advice. We would also like to thank Marina Kipson for editing the English manuscript. This work was supported by the research aim of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (RVO 68081766), by the grant of Grant Agency of University of South Bohemia 168/2013/P and Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Serbia (Contract TR 31009).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Šálek
    • 1
  • Jaroslav Červinka
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ovidiu C. Banea
    • 4
  • Miha Krofel
    • 5
  • Duško Ćirović
    • 6
  • Ivana Selanec
    • 7
  • Aleksandra Penezić
    • 6
  • Stanislav Grill
    • 8
  • Jan Riegert
    • 9
  1. 1.Institute of Vertebrate BiologyAcademy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicBrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.Faculty of Agriculture, Applied Ecology LaboratoryUniversity of South BohemiaČeské BudějoviceCzech Republic
  3. 3.Administration of Třeboňsko PLANature Conservation Agency of the Czech RepublicTřeboňCzech Republic
  4. 4.Ecology Department of Crispus NGO SibiuSibiuRomania
  5. 5.Biotechnical FacultyUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia
  6. 6.University of BelgradeFaculty of BiologyBelgradeSerbia
  7. 7.Association BIOMZagrebCroatia
  8. 8.Department of Ecosystem Biology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of South BohemiaČeské BudějoviceCzech Republic
  9. 9.Department of Zoology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of South BohemiaČeské BudějoviceCzech Republic

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