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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"Extinct" Jackal still alive in Qatar

The fur of this Golden Jackal blends in with the yellow grass behind it. The Golden Jackal, an animal that has not been sighted in Qatar since the 1950's, appears to be alive and well in the Qatar Desert.

The shy night-loving creature was recently spotted, according to the Qatar Natural History Group's latest newsletter, by Bo Madsen, the director of the small team of Danish archaeologists excavating in the oasis at Ras Abrouq.

Further enquiries revealed that the caretaker of the film set in the area had seen jackals on three different occasions, while the archeoligists also discovered sets of burrows in the area which were too large to be those of a fox.

Despite its name, the Golden Jackal, which can be found in Saudi Arabia, is probably more closely related to wolves and the domestic dog than other jackals.

It is also very much a family animal, with male animals remaning monogamous throughout their lives, and younger animals staying on beyond puberty to act as helpers, looking after their siblings.

For more information on the Natural History of Qatar, check out Fran Gillespie's article, Qatar's Natural History.

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