Golden jackal on the move in Europe: tracking the changing land-use and climate

Miss Klára Pyšková1,2, Prof Petr Pyšek2,1

1Department of Ecology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic, 2The Czech Academy of Sciences, Institute of Botany, Department of Invasion Ecology, Průhonice, Czech Republic


Ongoing global change is bringing about shifts in species distributions that include both the spread of populations of invading species and range expansions or contractions of native biota. In Europe these shifts are typically reflected in species moving from the south-eastern part of the continent to the north-west, most often in response to increasing temperatures that allow organisms to colonize areas that were previously unsuitable. Examples cover a wide range of plants and animals; one species that has received much attention because of its recent range expansion is the golden jackal (Canis aureus). In the Czech Republic, central Europe, we observed the first living individual(s) of golden jackal in 2015 ~40 km east of Prague; up to then several individuals have been recorded in the country but all of them were either shot dead or killed by a vehicle. The observed animal and its behaviour was documented in detail by camera traps set up for research of carnivore diversity in different habitats in the study area. In 2017, the first reproduction in the area was recorded. Our observation thus represents the first evidence of a persisting occurrence and reproduction in Europe of golden jackal individuals northwest of Hungarian-Austrian border. The results are discussed within the context of the spread of golden jackal in Europe in the last decades and with respect to its status in European countries; the attitudes vary from this species being embraced as enrichment of biodiversity in some countries, to it being considered as invasive alien species.


Klára Pyšková is a PhD student at the Department of Ecology at Charles Univeristy in Prague.  She has also worked as a researcher at the Department of Ecology (since 2017) and a  technician  at  the  Institute  of  Botany, Czech  Academy  of  Sciences  (since  2015).  She  completed  her  Master’s degree in Ecology at Charles University in 2016, focusing on carnivore diversity and ecology in  Central  Bohemia (a summarizing paper in Zookeys (2016), a paper on golden jackal records also in Zookeys (2018)). She  has  extensive  field  research experience using camera traps in the Czech Republic and Kruger National Park, South Africa, where  her  PhD  project  is  being  conducted. Her research focus is currently on biodiversity of an African savanna, carnivores in the Czech Republic and the shifts in golden jackal distributions in Europe.

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