Seasonal diet and prey selection of black-backed jackals on a small-livestock farm in South Africa
Thursday, 1st March 2012
Kamler J. F., Klare U., Macdonald D. W.
The extent to which black-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas) selectively consume domestic sheep (Ovis aries) compared to wild prey is unknown. Using faecal analysis and prey surveys, we determined the seasonal diet and prey selection of jackals on a small-livestock farm in South Africa. Sheep comprised 25–48% of the biomass consumed by jackals across seasons, and consumption peaked during the lambing seasons, indicating sheep often were the main food resource for jackals.
Another main food resource was wild ungulates Antidorcas marsupialis) and steenbok (Raphicerus campestris), which comprised 8–47% of the biomass consumed. Other important food items were mammals 1–3 kg (4–16%), which included hares (Lepusspp.) and springhares (Pedetes capensis), and small rodents (10–14%). Compared to the biomass available, jackals selectively consumed mammals 1–3 kg over sheep across all seasons, whereas wild ungulates