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Daytime cover, diet and space-use of golden jackals (Canis aureus) in agro-ecosystems of Bangladesh
- Jaeger, Michael M., Haque, Emdadul, Sultana, Parvin, Bruggers, Richard L.
- Mammalia 2007 v.71 no.1/2 pp. 1-10
- Canis aureus, Rattus rattus, Saccharum, agricultural land, agroecosystems, animal ecology, breeding, diet, dieting, feces, floods, foods, grains, jackals, monsoon season, predator-prey relationships, radio telemetry, rats, ripening, sugarcane, Bangladesh
- Golden jackals are locally common in Bangladesh despite intensive cultivation and high human densities. We studied the relative importance of seasonal flooding, rodent prey-base, and daytime cover on the occurrence of golden jackals in the two major agro-ecosystems in Bangladesh, one with annual monsoon flooding and the other without. Jackals were less common throughout the year where floodwaters occurred that would have excluded them for 1–3 months during their pup-rearing season. Diets of jackals were similar in the two agro-ecosystems. Rodents were the most common food type in scats throughout the year. The occurrence of burrowing rats in scats peaked seasonally when these rats were most concentrated in ripening cereals, suggesting that jackals are beneficial for rat control. Radiotelemetry of seven jackals in the non-flooded agro-ecosystem over an 11-month period indicated that sugarcane was the preferred type of daytime cover, despite representing only 2–4% of the area. There was a day-to-day return rate of 67% to the same 1-ha patch of cover. Evidently, sugarcane provides daytime cover for avoiding humans and for feeding on roof rats (Rattus rattus), which concentrate in this crop. Evidence suggests that breeding pairs of jackals were annual residents that defended cover (average of 37.3 ha) but not foraging areas beyond.