A golden jackal has been spotted in the Veluwe heathland region of the Netherlands, thousands of kilometres from its natural habitat, researchers at Wageningen University said on Monday.
The jackal was spotted by chance on a night camera earlier in February and its identity confirmed by experts in Eastern Europe, the university said.
It is unclear if the jackal crossed the border into the Netherlands or, more probably, escaped or was released from a private zoo. The jackals are larger than a fox, with a shoulder height of around 50 centimetres.
The golden jackal is common in north Africa, the Middle East, southern Asia and the Balkan states but has more recently been spotted in Denmark and near Frankfurt in Germany. The jackal hunts small animals like rabbits as well as reptiles, birds, fruit and waste food.
The university is keeping the beast’s exact location a secret but researchers are now looking for hair or faeces which can be used to carry out dna research and help establish where it came from.
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