HISTRIA 2015, wildlife survey in jackal specific ecological systems of Danube Delta
Brief report by Ovidiu C. Banea
During the period 27-31 of May 2015 took place HISTRIA 2015, wildlife survey in Complexul Sacalin-Zatoane, Caraorman levee and Grindul Lupilor Nature Reserves all located in Danube Delta.
Student Felix Bocker, who is doing Master studies in Freiburg Germany, tried to find out if is possible to conduct his Master thesis in jackal ecology field, specially in movement patterns or bird communities interactions. The fieldwork was organized by Romanian Environmental Ecologist Ovidiu C Banea from Crispus NGO Sibiu Romania and Ilya Acosta Pankov, Environmental Ecologist from Yoluka NGO Sofia Bulgaria and PhD candidate in jackal population ecology in the program of Univ of Sofia with Prof Nikolai Spassov. Press release here.
First day after a brief daytime survey in the control area in Gura Dobrogei, we took the boat from Murighiol to Sfantu Gheorghe locality on southern main branch of the delta. We than installed 6 calling stations in Complexul Sacalin Zatoane. We also installed a laboratory with 5 camera-trapps in Sacalin Lagoon on the Black Sea Coast.
On second day we explored Caraorman Forest Nature Reserve and we did BAM (bioacoustic monitoring) on the channel between Crisan and Caraorman villages where Crispus NGO performed BAM in Oct 2012. At the end we had the opportunity to analyze a road-killed female jackal.
On third day we performed BAM in Grindul Lupilor Nature Reserve.
From 6 calling stations installed in Sacalin-Zatoane Complex we got responses only from the laboratory station from one territorial group. Here we recorded a jackal, cattle and birds.
In Caraorman we had jackal footprints in a cow dung. In the village we find out that a jackal was shot at the end of March 2015. Hunting is prohibited in Danube Delta with some exceptions. An impact assessment study has to be performed before every management measure. See Case Report here. In 2012 we got responses from 11 groups (approx 33 jackals), but now we got only from 5 groups (approx 15 jackals). This could be explained in part by less activity outside the dens during this time (according to Giannatos, pers comm) due to the 6 weeks age of newborns. We also have to mention that the fishermen are not present on the very well-known channel due to prohibition time.
In Grindul Lupilor, we also observed a decreasing of jackal territorial groups from 5 to 1.
The analyzed specimen was a 14 months old female. We measured heart, spline, stomach, kidneys, traquea and larynx, paws, liver and intestine. The stomach content weighted about 400 mg. Macroscopic analyze showed an amount of short and soft hair and skin of 40%, fat of 20%, scavenged meat 10% and graminea 10% and 20% water. These could be the rests of a dead cat. The field was agricultural landscape.