The unpopular jackal

For the farming community in South Africa, jackals are a costly nuisance, as they kill sheep that are an important agricultural livestock. For a long time, bounties were paid for every hunted jackal. However, whether this really helped to keep the population in check is unclear. According to some, killing a jackal does no more than giving space to two or more jackals who will fight for the territory, and kill even more sheep in the process. I’m not a farmer, and for me seeing a jackal or hearing it in the night is an exciting event. Taking photos of the jackals in my neighborhood has so far been unsuccesful, so here is one from Pilanesberg National Park.

Dawn at the waterhole

Winter is coming, they say. In Pilanesberg the mornings are becoming chilly, with mist that forms over bodies of water like this waterhole. The Egyptian geese are just waking up and arranging their feathers. It’s going to be a lovely day!

Spotted thick-knee

The spotted thick-knee or dikkop (the Afrikaners and the English disagree about which part of the bird is thick…) always looks kind of sleepy. Its plumage gives excellent camouflage in the long grass, so it can be hard to spot this bird. At night, the bird becomes active and starts to hunt for whatever it can find on the ground: insects, lizards, and even small mammals.

Black-backed jackal

A black-backed jackal hunting early in the morning in Pilanesberg National Park.
We hadn’t seen much this morning, and my stomach was grumbling, so we decided to just park the car and have some breakfast while we were watching a group of impalas. Suddenly, a little further afield, I saw movement. It was this little jackal, who kindly moved into the direction of our car so that I could get a good shot!