The Black-backed Jackal (Canis mesomelas) occurs in southern and eastern Africa, but interestingly not in a roughly 900 km wide stretch in-between. The animals are very adaptable and live in a variety of habitats. They are omnivores feeding on carrion as well as hunting anything from small insects up to small rodents or larger antelopes. They are very aggressive and occasionally target prey much larger than themselves. However, jackals also have to watch their backs: In some places, they have been already hunted to extinction by humans, other than that, leopards also like the occasional jackal-bite. Fortunately, due to its widespread occurrence and opportunistic life style, the Black-backed Jackal is not threatened as of now.
I took the photographs in this post during a trip through Namibia in February 2007. Most have been shot within the Etosha National Park, but the last two pics are from Cape Cross, where many jackals live inside a huge colony of Cape Fur Seals. Throughout the year, a large number of carnivores feed on the seals, especially their pups. If you are not prepared to see it, it’s quite shocking to see thousands of seals live among just as many skeletons or half-eaten relatives… Anyways, that’s wildlife and the Black-backed Jackal is one of its beautiful members.