Farmer shoots first ever film footage of golden jackal in the Netherlands
A farmer who was planting seed potatoes has captured the first moving images of a golden jackal in the Netherlands.
Farmer Jan Kolhorn, who managed to whip out his mobile phone in time to film the animal, did not know what exactly he was dealing with. ‘I thought it was a fox at first, then a wolf,’ he told broadcaster NOS.
Experts confirmed, however, that what Kolhorn had seen was a golden jackal in what is only the fourth sighting of the notoriously shy animal in the Netherlands until now.
De Groningse boer Jan Kolhorn filmde het dier woensdag op zijn land. “Heel bijzonder”, zegt Kolhorn tegen RTL Nieuws. https://t.co/RNCusSIZUh
— RTL Nieuws (@RTLnieuws) May 4, 2021
A golden jackhal was first spotted in 2016 in the Veluwe heathland, thousands of miles from its usual haunts in north Africa, the Middle East, southern Asia and the Balkan states. It was unclear at the time if the animal had crossed the border into the Netherlands or, more probably, escaped or was released from a private zoo.
However, reports of sightings of golden jackals in Denmark, Germany and other European countries have been coming in as well and experts think the animals are coming from eastern Europe to make their home in western Europe in increasing numbers.
Golden jackals are genetically related to the wolf but are smaller and have a more pointy snout. They are slightly larger than a fox, with a shoulder height of around 50 centimetres.
They hunt by night, mostly for mice but they are also attracted by food waste left by people. ‘It could have ventured into a more populated area, perhaps looking for food when it was disturbed by the farmer and his tractor,’ ecologist Glenn Lelieveld of animal protection organisation Zoogdierenvereniging said.
Although the golden jackal is not thought to be dangerous to livestock one did kill two sheep in November last year. ‘That was an exception,’ Lelieveld said. ‘I think we should be happy it’s here, seeing it’s getting rid of the mice.’
There is no doubt the golden jackal is here to stay, Lelieveld said, but there is little to indicate how many have settled here. “It doesn’t need much to survive. Just as long as we leave it alone,’ he said.
The golden jackal is protected in the Netherlands and is currently listed in the EU habitats directive as an Annex V species which means that that member states ‘must ensure that their exploitation and taking in the wild is compatible with maintaining them in a favourable conservation status’.
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