The black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas), also known as the silver-backed or red jackal, is a species of jackal which inhabits two areas of the African continent separated by roughly 900 km. One region includes the southern-most tip of the continent, including South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. The other area is along the eastern coastline, including Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia.
It is listed by the IUCN as least concern, due to its widespread range and adaptability, although it is still persecuted as a livestock predator and rabies vector. The fossil record indicates the species is the oldest extant member of the genus Canis. Although the most lightly built of jackals, it is the most aggressive, having been observed to singly kill animals many times its own size, and its intrapack relationships are more quarrelsome.