Authors: MOHAMMAD TAGHDISI, ALIREZA MOHAMMADI, ELHAM NOURANI, SHIRKO SHOKRI, ALI REZAEI, MOHAMMAD KABOLI
Abstract: A 2-year study of the food habits of the Persian leopard was conducted in Sarigol National Park in northeastern Iran, North Khorasan Province. Based on an analysis of 52 leopard scats, the principal prey was wild sheep (Ovis orientalis: prey frequency of occurrence = 61.5%; prey relative frequency of occurrence = 47.05%; relative biomass = 53.96%), followed by wild pig (Sus scrofa: frequency = 23.07%; relative frequency = 17.64%; relative biomass = 25.38%) and wild goat (Capra aegagrus: frequency = 13.46%; relative frequency = 10.29%; relative biomass = 6.64%). The high proportion of medium- and large-size prey in leopard diet indicates favorable feeding conditions in the study area. Habitat use of the Persian leopard was determined using presence data, including direct observation points and where scats, tracks, prey remains, and territory marks were recorded. The landscape preference ratio and Jacob selectivity index were used for habitat preference analysis. Our results suggest that the Persian leopard prefers mountainous habitats followed by small undulating hills and rough terrain, where prey species are most abundant. Effective conservation of the leopard in Iran calls for further studies on the status of major prey populations, competition with sympatric carnivores, and methods to mitigate human-leopard conflicts.
Keywords: Panthera pardus saxicolor, diet, habitat use, scat analysis, Sarigol National Park, Iran
Full Text: PDF