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TWEE RIVIEREN AREA, KGALAGADI TRANSFRONTIER PARK, SOUTH AFRICA
BLACK-BACKED JACKAL, CANIS MESOMELAS

A pair of black-backed jackals display their unity by watching out for each other against the many threats of the Kalahari.

Black-backed jackals are monogamous with both the male and female marking and defending territories. They generally only leave their territories in search of water, or to feed on larger carcasses when there is diminished hostility from other jackals. Once the food is finished, individuals and pairs return to their territories.

They have a very pretty coat coloring; reddish-brown to tan, while the flanks and legs are redder. Males tend to be more brightly coloured than females, particularly in their winter coat. The back is intermixed with silver and black hairs, while the underparts are white. Their tails have a black tip.

There is a nice native lore on how the jackal got his black back, as the legend goes a jackal offered a lost little Hottentot girl a ride home on his back. She was known as the Sun Child. After a short distance the jackal became uncomfortable because of the heat from her. Howling, he leapt into dense bush and the little girl was swept from his back. Scorched and sorry for himself he ran away, carrying forever the mark of the Sun Child.

Jackals are usually timid and always on the move, but this two stayed in this position for more than a minute making it easy for me to choose a nice framing. A very telling capture about the strong bonding between these intelligent canines.

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