On the European continent a rapid and extensive range expansion of the golden jackal has been documented recently, raising new policy and legal questions and creating an urgent need to understand the mechanisms underlying this distribution change. Because of human persecution the jackal population in Greece went through a serious bottleneck and is therefore now listed as ‘Endangered’. We used data from field work and publicly accessible sources and General Linear Models to assess the evolution of the jackal’s presence and to identify important variables that could predict occupancy probability and potential expansion, priority conservation and management areas for the species in Greece. Our results indicate a rapid expansion of approximately 320% of the golden jackal’s range in Greece in less than 5 jackal generations. Distance to the golden jackal’s previous distribution range and the presence of wolves had a negative effect, while percentage of wetlands, arable land and permanent crops had a positive effect in predicting probability of occupancy of jackals in Greece. Potential areas of expansion were identified mainly in the western and central parts of the mainland of Greece and the island of Evvoia. Only 22.6% of the potential priority conservation areas for the jackal in Greece are currently under legal protection, and of these 23.8% are suitable for targeted management actions. Based on these results we define concrete research, conservation and management priorities for golden jackals in Greece.
ResearchGate Link: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/369411315_Rapid_expansion_of_the_golden_jackal_in_Greece_research_management_and_conservation_priorities