A natural paradise in Croatia is threatened by the appearance of a cunning intruder

The golden fox, native to Europe, is smaller than the wolf, but these animals have a unique ability: swimming. They can swim several kilometers in search of prey and adapt quickly to new habitats. Jackals eat almost anything, from fruit to animals. That’s bad news for Croatian shepherds in the paradise Kornati archipelago in the Adriatic Sea, where, until recently, no such animals existed. See the report from Digi24 and Deutsche Welle program “Focus Europa”. The show airs on Saturdays at 00:30 and repeats from 19:30.

Jakov Šikić went all morning hoping to find at least some of his sheep. They are semi-wild and live scattered on the island of Biskerra. His plan was to slaughter them today, but all he saw was a frightened lamb.

Semi-wild sheep

Jakov lives with his family in Kornati Archipelago – a natural paradise and national park for more than 40 years. For centuries the people here lived by fishing, raising goats and picking olives. A fragile ecosystem is now under threat: jackals – wild wolf-like dogs – have appeared on the island.

Zlatko Ružanović, National Park Biologist, follows them. Coincidence comes here today.

Two days ago, Jakov tells him, there were many goats with their lambs near the house.

– What vThey are old? Zlatko asks.

– Two weeks, Jakov Shikic tells him. And it’s a week old, he says, pointing to the frightened child.

– One aloneComplicated…, the biologist further notes.

– Here was another. It was still there for a week, but it disappeared. And these two are gone. I found this out this morning, Jakov Shikic tells him.

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To leave the lamb to the foxes, Jakov raises it himself. He earns nothing from the sheep’s wool and can only sell the lambs.

Difficult to catch and detect

They set a trap above Jaco’s farm. It is an attempt to at least do something, but so far has not succeeded. The trap is empty.

– Doesn’t work on jackals. Jakov says we will try again in another place, but it is smallComplicatedThe biologist explains why the trap didn’t work.

– Look, the entrance is high Short, Farmer proves.

Jackals are shy and cunning and their fur helps them to hide. Zlatko can only see them with the help of video cameras.

But it can be tiring. It is hot and the terrain is rugged. You need luck and skill to place the cameras in the right place. Additionally, Slatco must return every two to three weeks to replace batteries and view images.

“Here we’re using eight cameras to figure out what’s going onAnd “What direction do they go and how often do they appear,” says the biologist.

At this place AEWater Chances are: sheep and foxes come to drink water.

Why sheep are essential to the island

“Great, here it isClear. This is Jackal and it’s goat. Sheep and fox, both animals need to drink water” – says Slatko.

This puts the goats at risk. They are important to keep the vegetation on the island from overgrowing, especially under the olive trees. Too much grass will not grow properly.

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We accompany the park management patrol. Hunts are regularly organized, and so far a few foxes have been shot, but the animals still roam the islands. The Rangers don’t know why this is happening, but they have a guess.

How did jackals get to the island?

“We’re here on the South SideComplicated of Tugi Otok City. Behind us is the island of Vela Alba. We think the jackal swam from Tugi Otok to Vela Alba and here to Kornati. In total, it is about 800 meters and we know that foxes can easily swim more than three kilometers,” explains Sim Jesina, director of the national park.

In fact, there is a video taken by locals. A jackal calmly swims ashore. Until recently, there were no such animals in the Kornati Archipelago. However, now their traces are everywhere. Images of dead sheep abound – most of them killed by jackals.

Before For three years we had about 200 goats on each farm on the island. “Now there are only 60 left,” complains Jakov.

Since then, the farmer has seen some of his sheep, but they run away as soon as they smell them. Jakov says breeding semi-wild goats is not the future, so he wants to change strategy. “In September, we’ll start again. I’ll bring ten goats and see if that works. Not as many as before, but we’ll keep them in the barn.“, reveals the farmer.

Jakov should probably get used to livingaround Foxes. These animals have no intention of leaving and have become the new residents of the archipelago.

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