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.
This is a preview of subscription content,to check access.
Access this article
Alain B, Gilles P, Yannick D (2006) Factors driving small rodent's assemblages from field boundaries in agricultural landscapes of Western France. Landscape Ecol 21:449–461
Arnold J, Humer A, Heltai M, Murariu D, Spassov N, Hackländer K (2012) Current status and distribution of golden jackals Canis aureus in Europe. Mammal Rev 42:1–11
Banea OC, Krofel M, Červinka J, Gargarea P, Szabó L (2012) New records, first estimates of densities and questions of applied ecology for jackals in Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve and hunting terrains from Romania. Acta Zool Bulg 64:353–366
CORINE 2006 seamless vector dataset. http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/clc-2006-vector-data-version-2
Červinka J, Šálek M, Pavluvčík P, Kreisinger J (2011) The fine-scale utilization of forest edges by mammalian mesopredators related to patch size and conservation issues in Central European farmland. Biodivers Conserv 20:3459–3475
Červinka J, Šálek M, Padyšáková E, Šmilauer P (2013) The effects of local and landscape-scale habitat characteristics and prey availability on corridor use by carnivores: a comparison of two contrasting farmlands. J Nat Conserv 21:105–113
Ćirović D, Milenković M, Paunović M, Penezić A (2008) Present distribution and factors of range spread of golden jackal (Canis aureus L. 1758) in Serbia. In: Hunting Association of Serbia (Ed.), Proceedings of the International Conference on large carnivores, Žagubica, pp. 93–102 (In Serbian with English summary)
ESRI (2011) ArcGIS Desktop: Release 10. Redlands, CA: Environmental Systems Research Institute
Giannatos G (2004) Conservation action plan for the golden jackal Canis aureus L. in Greece. WWF Greece, Athens
Giannatos G, Marinos Y, Maragou P, Catsasorakis G (2005) The golden jackal (Canis aureaus L.) in Greece. Belg J Zool 135:145–149
Harrington FH, Mech LD (1982) An analysis of howling response parameters useful for wolf pack censusing. J Wildl Manage 46:686–693
Huck M, Jedrzejewski W, Borowik T, Jedrzejewska B, Nowak S, Myslajek RW (2011) Analyses of least cost paths for determining effects of habitat types on landscape permeability: wolves in Poland. Acta Theriol 56:91–101
Jhala YV, Moehlman PD (2004) Golden jackal Canis aureus. In: Sillero-Zubiri C, Hoffmann M, Macdonald D (eds) Canids: Foxes, Wolves. Jackals and Dogs Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN/SSC Canid Specialist Group Gland, Switzerland, pp 156–161
Krofel M (2008) Survey of golden jackals (Canis aureus L.) in Northern Dalmatia, Croatia: preliminary results. Natura Croatica 17:259–264
Kryštufek B, Murariu D, Kurtonur C (1997) Present distribution of the golden jackal Canis aureus in the Balkans and adjacent regions. Mammal Rev 27:109–114
Kuemmerle T, Müller D, Griffiths P, Rusu M (2009) Land-use change in Southern Romania after the collapse of socialism. Reg Environ Change 9:1–12
Lanszki J, Giannatos G, Heltai M, Legakis A (2009) Diet composition of golden jackals during cub-rearing season in Mediterranean marshland, in Greece. Mamm Biol 74:72–75
Markov G, Lanszki J (2012) Diet composition of the golden jackal Canis aureus in an agricultural environment. Folia Zool 61:44–48
Müller D, Kuemmerle T, Rusu M, Griffith P (2009) Lost in transition: determinants of cropland abandonment in postsocialist Romania. J Land Use Sci 4:109–128
Python Software Foundation (2012) Python Language Reference, version 2.6. http://www.python.org. Accessed Aug 2012
QGIS (2012) Quantum GIS Geographic Information System. Open Source Geospatial Foundation Project. http://qgis.osgeo.org
R Development Core Team (2009) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria, http://www.R-project.org. ISBN 3-900051-07-0
Sillero-Zubiri C, Reynolds J, Novaro A (2004) Management and control of canids near people. In: Macdonald DW, Sillero-Zubiri C (eds) Biology and conservation of wild canids. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 17–40
Simeneh G (2010) Habitat use and diet of golden jackal (Canis aureus) and human-carnivore conflict in Guassa community conservation area, Menz. MSc.Thesis, Addis Ababa University. Addis Ababa
StatSoft Inc (2010) STATISTICA (data analysis software system), version 9.1. www.statsoft.com
Stoyanov S (2012) Golden jackal (Canis aureus) in Bulgaria. Current status, distribution, demography and diet. International symposium on hunting, “Мodern aspects of sustainable management of game population” Zemun-Belgrade, Serbia, 22–24 June, 2012. pp 48–56
Szabó L, Heltai M, Lanszki J, Szűcs E (2007) An indigenous predator, the golden jackal (Canis aureus L. 1758) spreading like an invasive species in Hungary. Bulletin USAMV-CN, 63–64
Šálek M, Kreisinger J, Sedláček F, Albrecht T (2009) Corridor vs. hayfield matrix use by mammalian predators in an agricultural landscape. Agr Ecosyst Environ 134:8–13
Šálek M, Kreisinger J, Sedláček F, Albrecht T (2010) Do foraging opportunities determine preferences of mammalian predators for habitat edges in an agricultural landscape? Landscape Urban Plan 98:86–91
ter Braak CJF, Šmilauer P (1998) CANOCO release 4. Reference manual and user's guide to Canoco for Windows: software for canonical community ordination. Microcomputer Power, Ithaca
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).
Communicated by C. Gortázar
Variables used to analyze habitat preferences of golden jackal in the study areas according to Corine Land Cover classes.
Medians for proportions of each occupied/unoccupied habitat type related to the agricultural intensity with statistical significance (Mann–Whitney U tests), and analyses of the effect of habitat type on number of jackal groups. P values below P = 0.05 are in italics. Arable arable land, Hetero heterogeneous agricultural vegetation, Shrubs shrub–herbaceous vegetation.
About this article
Cite this article
Šálek, M., Červinka, J., Banea, O.C. et al. Population densities and habitat use of the golden jackal (Canis aureus) in farmlands across the Balkan Peninsula. Eur J Wildl Res 60, 193–200 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10344-013-0765-0