DNA checks on a sheep that was bitten to death near Staphorst in Overijssel in December show it was killed by a golden jackal, not a wolf, as expected, local broadcaster RTV Oost said at the weekend.
It is the third known incident of a jackal attacking sheep in the Netherlands since 2020. A jackal is known to have attacked a sheep in Nijmegen in 2000, killed three in Friesland in 2022 and attacked two near Lauwersoog on the Groningen coast last year. Farmers are compensated for the death of their animals.
The golden jackal, slightly larger than a fox with a pointed nose and short tail, is not native to the Netherlands and has moved across the continent from Eastern Europe.
The mammal 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.
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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