After animals, the jackals on the island of Drvenik Veli have turned their attention to people.
“Jackals have become the lords of the island of Drvenik Veli, they will eat us alive. Our island is small and there is no room for both them and us,” said the inhabitants of Drvenik Veli, a small island near Split, reports Jutarnji List on September 14, 2018.
For months, they have been under siege from the domestic-dog-sized canids, which usually feed on smaller mammals, carcasses and leftovers. But when they are hungry and trapped on a 12-square-kilometre island like Drvenik, even humans seem like a possible snack.
Josip Majić, chairman of the Drvenik Veli Local Committee, said he had appealed to the town authorities in Trogir, to which Drvenik administratively belongs, to organize hunters and launch a hunting expedition, but nothing has happened yet. “It all started five or six years ago; there were no jackals on Drvenik before. No one knows whether someone has brought them here or if they swam from the mainland. There are now dozens, up to fifty jackals living on the island.”
At night, people can hear them wailing. A couple of days ago, they attacked a Jadrolinija agent on the island while she was going to work. The woman says that there were fifty beasts around a pond where they came to drink water.
The locals wonder what will happen during winter months when there are just forty people living on the island, mostly older.
The island used to be home to many smaller animals, but they are nowhere to be seen now. “We had hundreds of rabbits and pheasants, but they are no more. They say that jackals do not attack humans one-on-one, but when there is a whole pack of hungry animals, you do not know how they will react. People are afraid,” said Majić.
Jela Piteša, the Jadrolinija agent, described her encounter with the animals. “I wake up on the island first, at about four o’clock. I was driving a quad to my office. When I came to the pond, there were so many of them I could not pass. I was terrified to death. Maybe they cannot kill a man, but they have strong jaws and teeth. They have slaughtered two cats. Can you imagine how I feel when they surround my house at 3 am and start to wail,” said Jela, who believes that jackals swam over the sea to come to Drvenik.
Trogir Deputy Mayor Ruža Kovačić-Bilić knows about the problem with the jackals and hopes the locals will receive help. “We have already sent letters about this problem, but the town cannot arrange a hunting expedition. We are ready to provide food and drinks for hunters and host them, just to help the islanders.”
Mladen Balić, president of the Split-Dalmatia County Hunting Federation, said that the local hunting grounds belong to the county, which should invite hunters or find some other solution. He added that jackals are not protected animals and the hunting expedition can be arranged at any time.
This has been confirmed by Tomislav Opačak, head of the County Office for Economy. “I urge the Trogir local authorities to send us an official letter and I promise we will talk with the Hunting Federation and do everything possible to prevent the damage. If necessary, a hunt will be organized,” said Opačak, adding that a few years ago they organized a hunt on
wild boars on the island.
Translated from Jutarnji List (reported by Damir Šarac).