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Golden Jackal Spotted for First Time in the Netherlands

The Veluwe Nature Reserve plays host to a special new visitor.

An unprecedented sight graced the grounds of Hoge Veluwe National Park in the Netherlands: A golden jackal (Canis aureus) was spotted for the first time in the country, the lone animal making an appearance in camera trap footage.

The creature was spotted purely by accident by researchers from Alterra and Wageningen University who were doing ungulate research in the area.

Top 10 Camera Trap Wildlife Photos

Golden jackals are bigger than foxes, but generally smaller than wolves. They will eat opportunistically - whatever they can find, be it rabbits, reptiles, birds or garbage.

They have a fairly wide range - from South Asia to the Middle East to central Europe - but a visit to the Netherlands is a first for the canid. How the animal came to be in a region so unfamiliar to it is not yet known.

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"We still don't know where this animal came from," says Alterra researcher Edgar van der Grift. "It is possible that it ventured across our borders of its own accord, but it could also be an escaped or illegally released animal. At this time we are trying to find DNA material of the animal, such as feces or fur. This can provide more insight into the origin of this animal."