We have no alternative than to call and shoot them; they can’t be caught and rehabilitated or relocated. Ethical methods are needed and a quick painless death is the only way to help save sheep. If jackal are ‘educated’, they will elude hunters for years and cause huge stock loss. It is vital that farm owners make use of predator hunters who know how to ethically call and remove predators or they will do more damage and create even bigger problems.
Jackal numbers are at an all-time high, and no matter what laws are being implemented, their measures will never control predator numbers that are growing every year and the millions of sheep who fall prey to them. The jackal has an incredible view from its den and can see everything that is happening, and if you stumble upon an active den, watch it or those pups will be moved in the blink of an eye.
Members of the public who are against predator control have no idea how the farmers are suffering due to predation and that the majority of farmers kraal all their sheep at night or they will have nothing left to farm with. (This is another reason why supermarket lamb chops are so expensive.)
However, farmers must be very careful who they allow to call on their farms. You should never allow a stranger to hunt on your farm at night unless you accompany them. Also, you should check all fresh, dead predators personally, or you could be duped by unscrupulous people who freeze dead jackal, defrost them and hang them on the bakkie to ‘prove’ to you – at four in the morning, through your bedroom window – that they have been successful.
Jackal numbers throughout SA are out of control. I am not talking about areas such as Caledon, Bredasdorp and places that now and again experience trouble, but jackal country. The people at the coast and down near the Western Cape have no jackal problem.
But I have news for them, the jackal are really close already, they are being called in at Gouda and Tulbagh, 40 minutes from Cape Town, and here I speak of black-backed jackal! I give it another four to six years maximum and jackal will be all over the Western Cape. Hunters should also take care to be target-specific.
On five occasions over three nights we drew the attention of aardwolf and, if we were not 100% target-specific and absolutely certain of the target in the red light, we would have killed five innocent animals. The farming community should set up clubs in the different areas.
It should get involved and farmers should stand together, and not wait for government departments to make decisions. They should get professional training and hunt legally. Although we will never eradicate the jackal, by working together, we can control the numbers.