The Jackal Study is a long term research programme undertaken by the Jackal Project. The initiative is conducted by the Department of Environmental Science of Independent University, Bangladesh.
The project was initiated back in 2016, when an anomaly in the behavioural patterns of jackals in Bakerganj of Barisal was noticed. Jackals in the area had recently turned very aggressive and were attacking people for no apparent reason, and the locals were taking matters into their own hands by killing off the jackal populations.
The research started from June, 2016, when a group of students were taken to Bakerganj in order to get to the bottom of the matter. By then, jackal populations had drastically decreased, and were tottering on the brink of local extinction. Starting with Focus Group Discussions with local people and then with house hold surveys, a baseline survey was soon completed regarding the depth of the matter. Within 8 months, the research was moved into a scientific phase where the local jackals were observed and studied up close. Awareness programmes were launched, mainly targeting local women and school children via workshops held at various schools in the locality. Within a year, the jackal populations had revived to sustainable proportions and killings were reduced greatly. This was a result of the awareness that rose among the local people as they understood the importance of jackals in the ecosystem.
As an extension of this project, Jackal Study is planning to do another research on jackal behaviour, in order to better understand how these fascinating creatures adapt to the ever growing human presence around them.
The writer is a lecturer in the Department of Environmental Science, Independent University Bangladesh.