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Indian Jackal or Himalayan Jackal with the scientific name Canis aureus indicus is one
of the subspecies of Golden Jackal or Asiatic Jackal or Oriental Jackal and is native to India, Nepal, Burma and Bhutan. There are around 13 subspecies which are known to exist around the world under the species name Canis aureus. These species falls under the family Canidae and order Carnivora. The quick classification of Indian Jackal is specified below,
|Subspecies||Canis aureus indicus|
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Indian Jackals have a distinct characteristics that during the winter season, the summer fur would shed and winter coat grows simultaneously which is dark brown in color.
The coat varies season from season. The body length ranges from 70 to 80 cm. They grow upto 25 to 40 cm at the shoulders. They weigh 8 to 11 kg. The tail is 20 to 30cm in length. Like other animals, males are larger than females. The body of these species is well-structured with long legs and light weight in order to chase prey. It also possesses excellent hearing sense to detect movement of prey.
|Common name||Subspecies name||Distributed Areas|
|Siamese jackal||Canis a. cruesemanni||Thailand, Myanmar to east India|
|Common jackal||Canis a. aureus||Northwestern India, Middle Asia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Arabian Peninsula and Baluchistan|
|Indian jackal||Canis a. indicus||India, Nepal|
|Sri Lankan jackal||Canis a. naria||Southern part of India, Sri Lanka|
|Algerian jackal||Canis a. algirensis||Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia|
|Senegalese jackal||Canis a. anthus||Senegal|
|Serengeti jackal||Canis a. bea||Kenya, Northern Tanzania|
|Egyptian jackal||Canis a. lupaster||Egypt|
|European jackal||Canis a. moreoticus||Southeastern Europe, Asia Minor and Caucasus|
|Variegated jackal||Canis a. soudanicus||Sudan and Somaliland|
|Syrian jackal||Canis a. syriacus||Israel, western Jordan|
|Dwarf jackal||Canis a. riparius||Africa|
|Balkan jackal||Canis a. ecsedensis||Thailand, East India and Myanmar|
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Since Indian Jackals can bear dry habitats and with any diet they can adapt themselves to various type of habitats and are widespread. They are seen in large density throughout India because of abundant shelter and food. In India they can live upto an elevation of 2,000 m. Around five subspecies of Golden Jackal exists in various countries like Thailand, Myanmar to east India, Northwestern India, and Southern part of India, Middle Asia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Arabian Peninsula and Baluchistan.
Dachigam National Park is located in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir which covers an area of 141 square kilometers. The fauna here includes Hangul, Musk Deer, Leopard, Leopard Cat, and Himalayan Gray Langur, Himalayan Brown Bear, Himalayan Black Bear, Jackal and hill fox.
Black Buck National Park Black Buck or Velavadar National Park which has a grassland ecosystem is located in Saurashtra region of Gujarat with an area of about 34.08 sq.km.It has implemented the conservation program for animals like Black Buck, Wolf and Florican. The other fauna here are foxes, jackals, wild pigs, hares and Jungle Cats.
Bandhavgarh National Park
Bandhavgarh National Park is located at Madhya Pradesh, India with an area of about 450 square kilometers. The thick forest of Bandhavgarh National Park sits in between the cliffs of the Vindhyan Mountains. The forest has the wild attractions like Black Buck, Northern plain gray languar, Indian leopard, Elephants, Tiger, Nilgai, Chital, Chinkara, Indian Muntjac Chital, Sambar, Wild Boar and Fox or Golden Jackal.
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Sariska Tiger Reserve: The Sariska Tiger Reserve is a national park in India located in the Alwar district of Rajasthan.
The park is situated at a distance of 107 km from Jaipur and 200 km from Delhi. This area was a hunting reserve and it was declared a wildlife reserve in 1955. In 1978, the park was given the rank of a tiger reserve making it as India's Project Tiger system. The current area of the park is 866 kms. Most commonly spotted carnivores here are leopard, Bengal tiger, wild jackal, wild dog, sambhar, chital, hyena, wild cat, nilgai, wild boar, camels, etc. Camel Safaris are arranged to view the biodiversity of the park.
Gir National Park: The Gir National Park is situated in Gujarat with an area of 120 square-miles with rich flora and habitat. Primarily, it is the home for Lions and has good number of Gazelles as in any other national park in India. Leopards can be seen at the border of the park during the summer seasons. Other Wildlife here includes Sambar deer, Chital, Jackal, Hyena, and Langur Monkeys. Jeep safari is conducted in order to view all the wildlife at Gir National park.
Panna National Park: Panna National Park is located in state of Madhya Pradesh and mainly spreads out in the northern parts of the state in the Vindhyan Range and extends over Panna towards the Chhatarpur districts. This park was established in the year 1981 and it covers an area of 543 Sq.km. The principal fauna here are Chinkara, Spotted deer, Bear, Panther, Blue bull, Tiger, Sambhar, Wild dog, Wolf, Jackal, Monkey, Crocodiles and apart from this birds of many species are also found here.
Barnavapara Wildlife Sanctuary:The significant feature of Barnavapara wildlife sanctuary is that the region covers a small area of around 245 sq. kms, even though the region is hilly and flat terrain surface, which varies with a range of altitude from 265 to 400 meters. The sanctuary is known for its unique wild and it was established for the same cause in the year 1972 under the act called 'Wildlife Protection Act'.
Wildlife comprises of a lengthy list of animal and species. Majorly it comprises of Striped Hyena, Tigers, Monkey, Sloth Bear, Chinkara, Flying Squirrels, Jackals, Porcupine, Leopards, Black Buck, Jungle Cat, Four-horned Antelopes, Barking Deer, Bison, Wild Dogs and many more.
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Their carnivorous food includes rodents, hares, young gazelles, young langurs, birds, fish, eggs, insects, reptiles, amphibians, mice, ducts, pheasants, lizards, snakes, carrion, voles, squirrels, ground cutters and scavenging diet. Their herbivorous food includes fruits, mulberry, apricots, tomatoes, watermelon, muskmelon, grapes, and olive fruit. They usually live in packs which includes the family members. Jackals are good hunters and they usually hunt the prey in groups. They wait for the scavengers to kill and fill themselves, and then they would feed on the remaining meat left by the scavengers.
The mating starts when the males are two years of age and females are around one year old. The male and female howl together once they start their courtship and this happens all round the year. Both male and female remain in pairs until the young is born. The gestation period lasts for about nine weeks after which they give birth to three to six pups in a single litter. The new borns weigh around 200-250 grams and have a soft fur. They open their eyes on the 10th day.
The mothers wean their cubs for three to six weeks. They are trained to eat solid food at about three month. They stay with their mother until the age of 5 months. Their lifespan is 14-16 years.
These species are widespread and has population increase around India and hence International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red list has classified the species as "Least concern". It is commonly spotted in its range with high population densities where food is abundant. The minimum population estimate records 80,000 number of Jackals in the Indian sub-continent.In India, the jackal population is high in areas like Maharashtra, Kutch, Haryana and Rajasthan.
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This because of the habitat loss due to increasing human population, livestock rearing,
industrialization, converting open areas to agricultural lands, wilderness areas being urbanized,etc. There are no threats affecting Jackal population except for extirpation and poisoning. Occasionally, they are hunted for their pelts and tails.
Conservation efforts in India
Indian Jackals are widely spotted in most of the protected areas of India except at the higher elevations.
Wildlife Protection Act (1972) of India helps to minimize trade of pelts and tails of Jackals. Research projects and various studies are done in order to fill the knowledge gap about the habitat, density, ecology and various other factors.
2. Jackals are noisy animals. They scream and yell when they are in packs.
3. These are very cunning and resourceful.
4. Their predators include hyenas, leopards and eagles.
5. They possess excellent hunting skills.