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Estonia preparing to purge itself from jackals, this fall

COMMENT PRINT ARTICLE
PHOTO: DANIEL GARCIA/AFP

The Environmental Board is busy specifying numbers of jackals in Estonia, as well as their whereabouts, behaviour patterns and options for population growth. The plan is to launch removal of the alien species this fall, already.

According to EB Hiiu-Lääne-Saare Region chief Kaja Lotman, three jackals have definitely been detected in Estonia, living somewhere around Matsalu. One has been heard, in Hiiumaa – just the voice.

«It is possible that one of the animals, identified in Matsalu, has crossed over to Hiiumaa by ice,» guessed Ms Lotman «We have also received notices from Saaremaa and Viljandi County, not as yet confirmed by our inspections.»

Ms Lotman explained that it is highly improbable that jackals could have reached Estonia, from their natural habitat, independently, without any known subpopulations in between. Based on that, Ministry of the Environment considers the Lääne County jackals an alien species, undesirable for Estonia’s nature.

«There are various international guidelines on how to deal with new alien species populations, as these are detected. A basic principle being getting rid of them as quickly as possible, before it becomes complicated, expensive or impossible,» said Ms Lotman. «Ministry of the Environment deems it prudent to act accordingly.»

According to Ms Lotman, Ministry of the Environment is of the opinion that jackals must be removed from Estonia.

«It must be admitted that we have to do with a crafty animal, highly inclined to hide, not easy to catch,» said Ms Lotman. «The need for swift removal of alien species is explained by that as the population acclimatises, it can increase fast.»

Increased numbers of jackals, however, may lead to decrease of birds nesting on the ground, amphibians and reptiles.

«Sustained monitoring will prove if all [jackals] will have been managed to be caught, during the upcoming hunting season,» added Ms Lotman. «Right now, preliminary inspections are being carried out for specifying numbers of jackals in Estonia, as well as their whereabouts, behaviour patterns and options for population growth. We hope to get these ready by September, as well as the instructions needed.»

According to Ms Lotman, the removal of jackals from the nature of Estonia is planned for this fall.

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