Food preferences of the Golden Jackal Canis aureus in the Gir National Park and Sanctuary, Gujarat, India

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M. Shamshad Alam
Jamal A. Khan
Chege H. Njoroge
Sandeep Kumar
R.L. Meena


The feeding habits of the Golden Jackal Canis aureus were investigated by analysis of its scat contents (n=81), collected between October 2007 and June 2008 in Gir National Park and Sanctuary, Gujarat, India. Jackal dietary habits reflected the availability of a wide variety of food items and the differential vulnerability of prey. Potential animal and plant foods available to jackal varied because of their seasonal variability. About 32.69% scats were found to have only one prey item, whereas 48.08% of scats represented two prey items. Overall, it was found that the large mammalian prey was the most important food item which was significantly supplemented by vegetative material particularly Zizyphus spp. Amongst mammalian prey, the percentage frequency of occurrence (percentage±SE) of Chital Axis axis was 25.93±2.84, Buffalo Bubalus arnee bubalis was 27.16±2.98 followed by Indian Hare Rufus nigricollis 19.75±2.15 and Sambar Rusa unicolor 11.11±1.19 while the least was found for Langur Semnopithecus entellus 2.47±0.21 and Bluebull Boselaphus tragocamelus 2.47±0.21. Although, there is substantial availability of wild prey kills, the results suggest the presence of domestic mammals and human waste matter in the scats which could be assumed as a fortification of the Jackal’s dietary spectrum, substantiating the scavenging tendency of the jackal to forage near human settlements.

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Chege H. Njoroge, Kenya Wetland Biodiversity Research Team, National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya



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