Golden jackal

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Golden jackal.
The golden jackal (Canis aureus) is a wolf-like canid native to Southeast Europe, Southwest Asia, South Asia, and regions of Southeast Asia. Compared with the Arabian wolf, which is the smallest of the gray wolves (Canis lupus), the jackal is smaller and possesses shorter legs, a shorter tail, a more elongated torso, a less-prominent forehead, and a narrower and more pointed muzzle. The coat can vary from a pale creamy yellow in summer to a dark tawny beige in winter. The golden jackal has a widespread distribution and high density in areas with plenty of available food and optimum shelter. The ancestor of the golden jackal is believed to be the extinct Arno river dog that lived in Mediterranean Europe 1.9 million years ago. It is more closely related to the gray wolf, coyote, African golden wolf, and Ethiopian wolf than it is to the African black-backed or side-striped jackals. The golden jackal is expanding beyond its native grounds in Southeast Europe into Central Europe, occupying areas where there are few or no wolves.

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