Ongoing research have revealed of a significant decrease in golden jackal population in Sri Lanka over the past two- decades.
Uthpala Jayaweera, a researcher in Carnivore Ecology, revealed that the study, overseen by Professor Sampath Seneviratne, a Zoology expert at the University of Colombo, and conducted in collaboration with Chandika Jayaratne, aimed to assess the present distribution and conservation situation of the Sri Lankan jackal species.
The research revealed that habitat degradation followed by erosion of food webs were the leading causes of the decline in jackal numbers. The study also highlighted that expanding road networks posed a major threat to the decreasing population of Jackals in the island.
Further the use of pesticides, road accidents as well as diseases such as canine distemper and rabies spread through unvaccinated dogs had contributed to the declining jackal numbers.
Ms Jayaweera pointed out that the Sri Lankan golden Jackal Canis aureus naria was one of the 13 sub-species of Golden jackal to be found in southern parts of India and Sri Lanka.
“Golden Jackals are more prominently found in the dry zone compared to the wet zone and their very rare in areas of high elevation. More numbers of Jackals are found inside the national park network in Sri Lanka such as Yala, Udawalawa, Wilpattu ,Kumana and Wasgamuwa National Parks,” she said.
Adding that the research team had carried out the first vocalization related study on Jackals.
The study which commenced last year revealed that the Golden Jackals are the most vocal carnivore in Sri Lanka.
With the species being synonymous for five vocal types such as bark, whine, and whimper, howl and group howl. It is said that Jackals use group howls for long distance communication.
Professor in Zoology at the University of Colombo, Sampath Seneviratne, said that Jackals are one of the top predators which contribute to keeping the balance of the ecosystem.
He elaborated that the carnivores such as jackals remove weak animals and reduce animals from contracting diseases and keep the ecosystem healthy.
Prof Seneviratne added that the Sri Lankan golden Jackal is one of the most vocal mammals in Sri Lanka and has many types of calls including deep howl which they use to communicate among a pack of two or a large pack of 13 to 15 jackals.
Professor Sampath Seneviratne