A new paper has been published recently in the scientific journal Oecologia about a possible mechanism through which medium-sized predators avoid interactions with larger predators.
Link to the paper: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00442-018-4133-3
Dog food was made available to red foxes at feeding stations in Croatia. When the researchers placed granules scented with wolf urine at those feeding stations, red foxes left more food behind and spent less time in visiting food patches each day. The researchers showed that red foxes were using their olfaction to assess the risk represented by wolf urine.
This research is very interesting as it might also apply to medium-sized carnivores such as black-backed jackals and larger carnivores such as leopards.
The “PredatorPee®, Wolf Urine Yard Cover Granules” might also serve as a jackal deterrent on small-livestock farms where jackal predation is an important problem. Though we do not know if those granules would work on jackals that have never met wolves, or their potential impacts on sheep… Some farmers have reported using cheetah scat in plastic bottles tied to their fences to scare medium-sized carnivores off the area where their sheep were grazing.
A lot more research is needed to find non-lethal ways of protecting sheep against predators in South Africa and worldwide.