Day of the Jackals? TWO sightings of elusive hunter reported roaming capital’s districts

Jackals may now be living on the edges of Warsaw following reported sightings of the animals (illustration photo). ABIR SULTAN/PAP/EPA

Jackals may now be living on the edges of Warsaw following reported sightings of the elusive and rare animals in the city’s Bielany and Wawer districts.

Carnivores with a particular licking for rodents, ground-nesting birds and young deer, golden jackals—the type of jackal indigenous to Europe--are still rare in Poland but their numbers are on the rise as they spread northwards from southern Europe.

The jackals was seen in the city’s Bielany and Wawer districts (illustration photo).ABIR SULTAN/PAP/EPA

In an interview for Polsat News Andżelika Gackowska, from the city's forest department, said: “Recently I had a report of someone seeing a golden jackal on the edge of Bielany, in the area of the Nowa Warszawa Forest.”

She added that while this sighting was yet to be confirmed, experts had already confirmed jackal sightings in Wawer.

It is thought that one of the reason the animals could be moving into Poland from their traditional hunting grounds in southern Europe is the lack of wolves in Poland.RONALD WITTEK/PAP/EPA

The animals, which look like a cross between a fox and a wolf and pose no threat to humans, were first spotted in Poland in 2015, and estimates put the number of the furry hunters in the country between 20 and 200.

Just why golden jackals are moving into Poland from their traditional hunting grounds in southern Europe is still not clear, but experts believe it could have something to do with warmer winters, and a scarcity of wolves.

Andżelika Gackowska, from the city's forest department, said that while the Bielany sighting was yet to be confirmed, experts had already confirmed jackal sightings in Wawer.T. Demiańczuk/ um.warszawa.pl

Although enjoying a renaissance in much of Central Europe, wolves, one of the jackals’ main enemies, are still quite rare and that allows jackals to live in relative peace and expand into new territories.

In southern Europe jackals have been known to attack animals such as sheep and calves, but in Poland, according to Professor Rafał Kowalczyk from the Polish Academy of Science’s mammal research institute their scarcity means they won’t pose a problem.

Golden jackals—the type of jackal indigenous to Europe--are still rare in Poland but their numbers are on the rise as they spread northwards from southern Europe.CC BY-SA 4.0

“Jackals are not a problem,” he said, adding that by the end of September there had only been 15 confirmed sightings in Poland.

In most situations people mistake feral dogs or foxes for jackals.