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Black backed jackal

Black backed jackal
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter Thomas (FunkyMunky) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 146 W: 0 N: 608] (3154)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-04-07
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon Digital EOS 350D, Sigma 70-300mm
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/320 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2010-12-16 19:17
Viewed: 7408
Points: 10
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Black Backed Jackal

One of my favourite species to photograph. They always seem so alert with beautiful shiny eyes. This was taken in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, my favourite park for wildlife photos!

The black-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas) are slender creatures, weighing 5 to 10 kg. Their sides, head and legs are a sandy tan to reddish gold in colour. Their back has a saddle from head to tip of tail that is black and white mixed hairs.

Often the edges of the saddle are framed in bright rust. They have a thick under coat for cold weather, which they shed in the spring.

These jackal are the most abundant and widespread of the larger carnivores in sub-Saharan Africa.

They are cunning creatures. Their senses are extremely acute and well-developed, especially their senses of hearing and smell. If startled, a jackal will retreat a certain distance and then circle back in a wide arc in order to interpret the scent of the disturbance.

They spent many thousands of years becoming an efficient sub-predator, adapting to and learning from the top predators around them. They tend to be territorial and will become aggressive only to defend the boundaries of their territories.

Black-backed jackals are active both during the day and night. When active, this species is usually out searching/scavenging for food. Normal movement is at a trot; when hunting an individual walks slowly with its ears pricked and alert.

The surviving success of the black backed jackals is greatly due to their highly adaptable nature. Their relatively small size, mobility, and lack of specialised food and habitat requirements mean that they can adapt to environmental change, which has decidedly affected the way they behave.

Consequently, they have expanded their ranges into agricultural areas and urban habitats in some localities, and also increased or maintained stable population sizes while many carnivores of similar size or greater have succumbed to human pressures such as persecution, encroachment, and habitat loss.

Because of their migrations towards agricultural areas; if you mention black-backed jackals to a sheep farmer in South Africa, he would probably reach for his gun.

This would be the worst thing to do. Jackals are normally seen as being wary of humans and are not considered "aggressive" towards larger animals like sheep. But when one of them kills a sheep, farmers take their vengeance by killing all the jackals in sight. The farmer may kill the alpha-male, and this puts in motion an evil cycle during which both the farmer and jackal become worse off.

The black-jackals, like all other jackals, are territorial and work in pairs. Without the alpha-male the territory is fair game and there are plenty of sub-males around, waiting to exploit the gap. Being less established, they may have had to become inventive in their hunting. Maybe they have learned to kill sheep. They'll take over the range and teach other youngsters their skills.

By dominating breeding cycles, alpha-females can keep whole territories unproductive. But the interlopers will generally chase her away once her mate is killed, and without her younger females will begin to breed. There will soon be more pups around, and lots of dumb sheep to feed them on.

This means a higher survival rate, which means more jackals. Pretty soon the farmer is losing considerable amounts of his flock. To him it seems like a vendetta-each generation is harder to trap, harder to poison, harder to fool and harder to kill.

dmark11, eqshannon, Miss_Piggy, Pitoncle has marked this note useful
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To Miss_Piggy: JackalFunkyMunky 1 12-17 21:38
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Peter,
Very beutiful little Jackel. I like your notes on the jackel. It would seem the story on the jackel is very similiar to our North American coyote. The north American coyotes are incredibley adaptable and smart. For 200 years farmers have tried to eraticate them and cant make a dent. Even in this day and age there is a bounty that the government pays for their tails, very sad.

Happy holidays.

I have never seen a jackal Peter. Must have been "his day" a remarkable close in portrait. I wonder how many of this sub set we have on TN? Thanks for sharing.

Hallo Peter
As you know I am a lover of any beautiful photograph being insects, birds, sunset, wildlife, flowers, waterfalls and what so ever. Nature is so stunning that one cannot but love the sight of any of it, and your image is a proof of it. The direct eye contact makes this a really nice one, it is just a pity about the grass in front of its face. But anybody taking photographs of wild animals will know that one cannot always have the perfect conditions and one also cannot quickly get out of the car to move away the piece of grass. A very delightful portrait. Thanks for sharing. Best regards.

Hello Peter,
A well captures beautiful animal, the photo is very nice, it would be much better without the grass but it does not spoil the overall quality of the photo.
Best wishes,

Bonjour Peter,
Très belle publication restituant un magnifique regard pris à l'intant décisif.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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