The first day of the jackal was the 6th. of June 2015, when a driver passing the town of Karup in Western Denmark noticed what he thought was a strange looking dog lying at the edge of the road. Intrigued the man stopped for a closer look only to ascertain two things – the animal was dead, but only recently so, and it was indeed a very strange looking dog, about fox-like in stature, but a bit bigger. The man considered leaving the animal to the crows, but on a whin decided to put it in the boot of his car and take it away with him.
So off he went, to the home of a friend who is an experienced hunter. He couldn’t identify the animal either, but he did have a large freezer, into which the animal was put. Next stage was the showing of said weird animal to various interested parties, none of which was able to identify it with any degree of certainty. It was clear that closer examination was called for. 3 months and various DNA-analysis and tests later came…
The second day of the jackal on Sep. 10th, when the people of Denmark was informed, that yet another large carnivorous mammal had entered the country. To some people it was a bit much, coming so soon after the official reappearance of the wolf in Denmark in 2012 after an absence of a couple of centuries. Anyway – as it turned out, the animal was a golden jackal (Canis aureus), and although its presence was quite a surprise, it was not totally unexpected. The jackals normal distribution range is quite a bit to the southeast of Denmark, but the jackal population in Central and Southeastern Europe has been growing in recent years, and as jackals are great wanderers, some animals had already been sighted far away from their normal ranges. Some has been seen in Germany, and a few brave individuals has even gotten as far north as Eastern Finland.
Strangeley enough I have received a couple of sightings of ”large golden brownish/grey foxes” from southern Denmark within the last coulpe of yeatrs, which I haven’t been able to explain. Well- maybe I can now.
An then things got a little bit weird.
Because although it was fairly clear the animal was equipped in such a way as to be deemed male, it didn’t seem to have any testicles. Under these circumstances it could conceivably be a former castrated captive that somehow had escaped from somewhere.
So, time for a detailed dissection/autopsy to set the scene for:
(Pictures of the dead animal and the actual autopsy can be found at: http://www.vet.dtu.dk/Nyheder/2015/10/Guldsjakal-er-blevet-obduceret-paa-DTU-Veterinaerinstituttet?id=587cafad-8880-4570-9932-84f2a113066c)
The third day of the jackal, in fact October 20th, when it was finally announced, that the animal did indeed have testicles – they had just been knocked into the abdomen when the animal was hit by the car that killed it.
So in other words – yet another large mammal joins the official list of Danish species! Not bad.