This spring Archipelagos Institute started working with Samos International Airport to establish the population and distribution of the golden jackal (Canis aureus L.) in the airport area. We have been collecting data on the population, home range, activity patterns and use of the airport habitat. This information is used for the exclusion process that aims to protect both jackals and public safety, whilst removing the threat to of aircraft damage through collision with the jackal.
With the collaboration of the University of West England the terrestrial team set up acoustic devices, the Song Meter SM4. The retrieved information helped to determine the population of jackals in the airport.
We are also setting up camera traps into several locations around the airport territory which is providing us with the information about the usage of the area by the jackals. With the help of the pictures we have located the entrance points and the times of the day when they are being used.
We have carried out perimeter fence surveys in order to locate all the entrance points and record the signs of jackals. Footprints, faces and remains of the birds were found. This information further helped us to understand what the jackals use the airport area for.
Spotlight surveys and communication with the airport staff suggest that the population of the jackals have increased since the beginning of the study. This can increase the threat to the aircrafts and jackals and the relocation of the jackals will be needed as soon as possible. We will install additional camera trap, carry out spotlight and acoustic surveys in order to better determine the number of jackals present. With this information we can come up with the best solution for relocation of jackal population in the airport.
Maarja Jagomägi, MSc Animal Behaviour, Manchester Metropolitan University, England