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2015

Nocturnal Hunters - The black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas).  The fossil records of the black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas) found in South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania date back two million years. Today, this ancient form of canid has adapted to a wide range of habitats, from city suburbs to the desert. Its versatility has earned it a reputati...

Nocturnal Hunters - The black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas).  The fossil records of the black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas) found in South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania date back two million years. Today, this ancient form of canid has adapted to a wide range of habitats, from city suburbs to the desert. Its versatility has earned it a reputation of cunningness and superior intelligence.

Also referred to as the silver-back or red jackal, the black-backed jackal has a reddish-brown coat and a black-tipped bushy tail; the fur on its back is a striking blend of silver and black while the underparts are white. The dog-like head, pointed muzzle and upstanding pointed ears are a deep russet red.

The portrait of a black-backed jackal features on the obverse of the 1oz coin in the ‘Nocturnal Hunters’ theme of 2015, together with the year ‘2015’ and the words ‘South Africa’.

On the reverse of each coin, different aspects of the black-backed jackal’s behaviour are shown. The R100 (1oz) coin depicts the jackal lying lazily on its front paws. On the R50 (1/2oz) coin, a jackal pair which has mated for life is featured. The R20 (1/4oz) coin shows a black-backed jackal hunting for rodents while the R10 (1/10oz) coin portrays a mother jackal with her pup.

Due to its striking appearance and wide distribution, the black-backed jackal is one of Africa’s most common and best-known predators. These versatile hunters are mainly active during the night, often spotted at dawn or at dusk, and their haunting call is a typical sound in the African bush at night.

The moon represents the ‘Nocturnal Hunters’ theme of 2015 and unifies the four coins in the Natura series.

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