Sri Lankan Jackal

An adult male Golden Jackal. Photo by Steve Garvie

The jackal is a cunning and resourceful species found all over the world, and the Sri Lankan Jackal (Canis aureus naria) is no exception. The Sri Lankan Jackal is one of thirteen subspecies of the Golden Jackal, and as you can guess by its name, this jackal lives in Sri Lanka and southern parts of India. The jackal is slightly smaller than a wolf, with smaller legs, body, and tail overall. Its back is covered with black and white fur with a brown background. This beautiful canine is mysterious, curious, and agile. However, don’t be fooled by its good looks. This jackal is a skilled hunter and scavenger, carnivore and herbivore. As a pack animal, they can organize and take down large prey. The pack also waits for other predators to make a kill, fill up, and then scavenge the rest of the food. The jackal has a wide range diet that consists of small animals including rodents, birds, mice, young gazelles, reptiles, and also fruits. This diet allows the jackal to thrive in varying niches that include forest, grasslands, semi-urban, rural, and arid areas.

Since the jackal has adapted and thrived in different habitats, it is currently listed as “least concern”. However, there are still concerning threats impacting the Sri Lankan Jackal. Human overpopulation in India constantly pressures wildlife through habitat loss, industrialization, agricultural and livestock expansion. In addition, Sri Lankan locals fear that the jackals will transmit rabies and other diseases to themselves and their domesticated dogs. Another threat is the trade of jackal’s pelts and tails, but the Wildlife Protection Act hopes to minimize this. Conservation efforts mainly target educating communities on how to coexist with these intelligent canines and decrease hostile actions towards them.

As urban development increases in Sri Lanka, the rich biological community continues to be threatened. The S.P.E.C.I.E.S. project hopes to understand the carnivores in Sri Lanka that are threatened or have the potential to be threatened through surveying the current status and future of carnivore species. Learn more about our project in Sri Lanka here.

S.P.E.C.I.E.S. presents at WAFWA’s 12’th Mountain Lion Workshop

S.P.E.C.I.E.S. recently participated in the 12th Mountain Lion Workshop in Estes Park, Colorado, held by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. The theme of this year’s meeting was “A Synthesis of Management and Research Findings”. S.P.E.C.I.E.S. founder Anthony Giordano presented on a multi-method approach to estimating jaguar and puma densities by integrating noninvasive genetic sampling and home range data. The workshop featured numerous methodological approaches that have the potential to apply to not only mountain lions, but other carnivore and cat species as well.

Support for the Endangered Species Act

As part of the Endangered Species Coalition, S.P.E.C.I.E.S. is proud to join The Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Earth Justice, Endangered Species Coalition, Natural Resources Defense Council, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, and WeAct in garnering support for the Endangered Species Act.

The ESA is essential for conserving and protecting species that are endangered or threatened. It has been fundamental to the survival and recovery of imperiled species such as the Grizzly bear, the Gray wolf, and the Florida panther.

Yet, many of our native species still need our help. There are currently over 1,200 species listed on the Endangered Species Act in the United States. S.P.E.C.I.E.S. has launched its first project in the United States, California Carnivores, in an effort to draw greater attention to the major threats facing carnivores and other wildlife in our backyard. The Endangered Species Act is a crucial aspect to conserving these carnivore communities.

It is paramount that we protect the integrity of this important Act. Without it, many of our native species will soon face extinction. If your organization wishes to support the Endangered Species Act, join us in signing this letter of support:…/

S.P.E.C.I.E.S. contributes to Paraguay IUCN Red List update

Last month, S.P.E.C.I.E.S. participated in the IUCN Red List workshop for Paraguay. The workshop aimed to reevaluate the conservation status for all mammals known to occur in Paraguay, providing a crucial update since the last assessment in 2005. Experts from across Paraguay took part in the meeting. S.P.E.C.I.E.S., represented by founder and director Anthony Giordano, took the lead in determining the criteria for carnivores, and contributed to that of other mammals as well. The IUCN Red List plays an essential role in directing conservation efforts for threatened and endangered species across the globe. Find out how you can support the IUCN Red List at

Anthony Giordano and Diego Gustavo Giménez at Limoy Reserve, Paraguay