Jackal pups being hand-raised by IFAW
A pair of jackal pups found in a tea estate near Kaziranga National Park in India is being hand-raised by IFAW and its partner in India - the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) since mid-March 2009. The pups will eventually be reintroduced to the wild, once they become capable of independent survival.
The two jackal pups were admitted to the IFAW Wildlife Rescue Center on March 17. Found in Naharjan Tea Estate, Dergaon, the pups were kept as pets by local labourers for about a week before they were taken away by authorities for rehabilitation. The mother is believed to have been killed.
In areas where tea gardens are interspersed with forested areas, leopards, small carnivores such as jackals and jungle cats among other animals often take advantage of such marginal habitat. However, this brings them into conflict with humans, causing displacement.
At the center, the pups were nursed, bottle-fed and looked after by trained animal keepers under the guidance of wildlife veterinarians.
The pups were highly stressed when they were first brought perhaps because they were being handled by people and moved from here and there. The vets and caretakers gave them an electrolyte solution to check dehydration and to stabilize them. Soon after, they were bottle-fed but at this time they are mature enough to start eating meat. The on-site vet reports that they have become very active and playful, and they keep running around their enclosure.
As required by the small carnivore rehabilitation protocol, the pups will be hand-raised with minimal human contact at the center. They’ll be provided with opportunities to learn the necessary skills for their survival in the wild.
It may take anything between six months to a year to successfully hand-raise these pups and let them learn whatever they may need for survival in the wild. The center has already hand-raised and released one jackal pup in 2004 and so it’s expected that rehabilitation of these two new pups will be successful. The fact that they are two individuals will facilitate the formation of social bonds and generally help the pups instinctively learn to live in a family, as they do in the wild.
The Jackal (Canis aureus) is listed under schedule II of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Although it is a fairly common canid found across India, in forests, urban or semi-urban areas, its population is believed to be gradually declining.
Photo: Dr Rinku Gohain/WTI