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The Golden jackal (Canis aureus) is a medium sized species of canid which inhabits north and north-eastern Africa, south-eastern and central Europe (up to Austria and Hungary, Asia minor, the Middle East and south east Asia. It is classed by the IUCN as Least Concern, due to its widespread range in areas with optimum food and shelter. It is a highly adaptable species, being able to exploit different foodstuffs and live in numerous different habitats, including the African savannahs the mountains of the Caucasus[ and the forests of India.] It is the largest of the jackals, and the only species to occur outside Africa, with 13 different subspecies being recognised. Although often grouped with the other jackals (the black-backed jackal, and the side-striped jackal), genetic research indicates that the golden jackal is more closely related to the gray wolf and the coyote. The genetic evidence is consistent with the form of the skull, which also bears more similarities to those of the latter two species than to those of other jackals. The golden jackal is sometimes featured in the folklore and mythology of human cultures with which it is sympatric: in Indian folklore, it is portrayed as a trickster, while in Ancient Egyptian religion, it played a central role under the guise of Anubis, the god of embalming. Once thought to have been the ancestor of some dog breeds, the golden jackal can be hybridised with domestic dogs, with some modern authors stating that the species may have contributed to the breeding of Ancient Egyptian hunting hounds. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Additional Photos by EYAL BARTOV (bartove) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 69 W: 0 N: 203] (2866)
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