Wildlife in the suburbs is becoming more prominent as their natural environment is encroached on; a Black-Backed Jackal was rescued in Roodepoort after it was found wandering the streets.
Roodepoort, South Africa (19 May 2023) – Wild Serve rescued an 8-month-old male Black-backed Jackal roaming in Roodepoort recently. The team set up a watch group to help track the animal so it could be safely caught and moved away from the urban setting.
The team shared that they had been tagged multiple times by concerned citizens that had caught glimpses of the jackal. The team regularly consults on the management, rescue and rehabilitation of jackal packs that live in North Riding, Jackal Creek, Zandspruit and Muldersdrift. Wild Serve CEO Dirk Engelbrecht immediately answered the call to assist the lone jackal.
With the help of surrounding community WhatsApp groups, the team set up a sightings group which helped them get quick and accurate sighting information, making it easier for them to track the jackal. The group was useful because jackals are nocturnal and so they move around when it is dark while humans are snuggled up at home.
“These virtual groups have been effective in the past with tracking baboons and vervets from the West Rand to Eastern Gauteng and many residents have become accustomed to participating on them. Thanks to Cora Bailey from CLAW (Community Led Animal Welfare) for leading the way in this regard.
We tracked the young male (approx. 8 months old) as he moved back and forth between Honeydew Ridge, Alen’s Nek Weltevredenpark and Randpark Ridge. Keep in mind… jackals move at night and are rarely seen during the day so this meant we did not get much sleep and spent nights on foot in the rain!” – Wild Serve
The team needed to act quickly so that members of the public didn’t get involved and cause unintended harm to the jackal. Thankfully, the call came in that it had been spotted in the daylight, this allowed the team to accurately track and trap it.
“After tracing the jackal through estates, suburban roads, spruits and business premises we were alerted to the jackal entering a LARGE residential property on Thursday the 11th. The owner of the property called and graciously made her property, staff and permission for anything needed, available. It was admirable just how sensitive and supportive everyone involved was throughout. One of the tenants even made their cottage available for Dirk to sleep in after the perimeter was secured. It was decided the jackal was to be left in peace and fed and rested first.
After mapping and exploring several aspects of the property, the method and procedure of the capture was planned. These plans consider multiple aspects of the environment and the animal’s natural and adapted behaviours, its recent observed habits and condition. The capture was to take place the following morning (Friday 12th May).
5.30 AM and a subtle last trial run is done to test the jackal’s reaction. We waited for our colleagues from the western Gauteng region to arrive. This included our preferred rehabilitator, Georgie Lackinger from South African Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and her assistants, including the local resident volunteer Natalie Jardim and, most importantly, our preferred field and predator vet from Muldersdrift Animal clinic, Dr Michael Sutton.
The jackal was, eventually, captured as originally planned after Dr Sutton patiently assisted us to line it up for him to dart. This required him hitting a target the size of an adults hand from almost 30m away. Again, it is VERY important to state: darting is never a first option, it is nothing like on TV and it is lethal if not done right or limited to tightly controlled environments. It may also only be done by a WILDLIFE vet who is, in addition, trained to dart.”
The teams chatted and decided the best course of action would be to relocate the jackal. It is young enough to establish a life somewhere new. It was taken to The South African Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, in Springs. When the team arrived, they learned that two other jackals had also been sent to the centre and so, all three would be socialised and released together.
The rescue was a successful one and the team are so thankful to everyone who supported their efforts. If you would like to support Wild Serve, you can find out how via Facebook here.