Campus News

Scavenger hunt

Medium-sized carnivores like coyotes, foxes, badgers and jackals are often viewed as threats in urban areas. But they can provide ecological benefits, said James Beasley, an assistant professor of wildlife biology at UGA’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory and the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, in the New Scientist.

A recent study by University of Belgrade scientists in Serbia found that European jackals mostly subsisted on discarded animal flesh and small rodents, essentially aiming in waste management services.

“They (medium-sized carnivores) are particularly important in areas where there are no more apex predators—lions, bears, crocodiles—or obligate scavengers, like vultures,” said Beasley, who was not directly associated with the Belgrade study. “They provide a valuable ecosystem service by removing dead animal material and potentially limiting disease transmission.”