Authors: FARAZ AKRIM, TARIQ MAHMOOD, MUHAMMAD SAJID NADEEM, SHAISTA ANDLEEB, SIDDIQA QASIM
Abstract: Knowledge of a predato's diet is important for understanding its ecology and for predicting its influence on the dynamics of prey populations. We investigated the spatial distribution and diet composition of the leopard (Panthera pardus) in the northeastern Himalayan region of Pakistan. We used molecular scatology technique to identify scats of common leopard collected from the field. The leopard was recorded at 30 different surveyed sites with an elevational range between 757-1891 m a.s.l. Its diet comprised 17 prey species, including both wild and domestic prey. Frequency of occurrence of wild prey was approximately 35% of the total leopard diet, while domestic prey contributed approximately 59%. The dietary niche breadth of the leopard was found to be broad during the spring but narrow during the winter. Prey species diversity index was high during summer but low during winter. Results of the current study highlight that common leopard is mainly subsisting on domestic animals, which may result in negative human-leopard interactions. We suggest that local communities should be educated to conserve the leopard and its wild prey species.
Keywords: Diet composition, leopard, dietary niche breadth, prey species availability
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