The wide distribution of a predator can reflect its flexibility in adapting to various ecosystems. The common leopard (Panthera pardus) is “Critically Endangered” in Pakistan while the IUCN Red List categorizes it globally as “Vulnerable”. This study investigated the distribution of the common leopard and the contribution of livestock in its diet in District Sudhanoti of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. During the surveys, scats, pugmarks, prey remains, and dead bodies of the common leopard were recovered in a scanned area of approximately 262 km2. The scats were mostly found on tracks and trails in hilly terrain, and pugmarks in the riparian zone and nallas, while prey remains were found mostly in dense bushes and rocks. Dead common leopards were recovered within or around village areas. All signs of the species were found between 418 m and 2016 m elevation above sea level. Scat analysis revealed a total of ten prey species including seven domestic mammals and only three wild meso-mammals. Domestic animals were most frequently consumed while wild prey contributed significantly less. The consumption of domestic prey species was found not to differ between the summer and winter season. We conclude that the common leopard was sustaining mainly on livestock with a much smaller contribution from wild prey. This fact, along with the “Critically Endangered” status of the species in the country, demands effective conservation measures to be taken to save common leopards.
AthreyaV.OddenM.LinnellJ.D.C.KrishnaswamyJ. & KaranthU. (2013) Big cats in our backyards: persistence of large carnivores in a human dominated landscape in India. PLoS One8e57872. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0057872.
EliassenT. (2003) Niche separation and food competition between tigers (Panthera tigris) and leopards (Panthera pardus) in Royal Bardia National Park Nepal. Unpublished MSc thesis Agricultural University of Norway. The Norwegian University Library of Life Sciences. https://www.nmbu.no/en/about-nmbu/library.
FusariA. & CarpanetoG.M. (2006) Subsistence hunting and conservation issues in the game Reserve of Gile, Mozambique. Biodiv. Conserv.152477-2495.
KhalilS.U.R. & HussainT. (2008) Common leopard predation on livestock an assessment of local predation in the Gallies forest division district Abbotabad. Internship Report of the Study Carried out at WWF Nathiagali Pakistan.
KhanM.A. & HussainM. (2012) Medicinal plants used in folk recipes by the inhabitants of Himalayan Region Poonch Valley, Azad Kashmir (Pakistan). J. Basic Appl. Sci.835-45.
LindseyP.A.NyirendaV.R.BarnesJ.I.BeckerM.S.McRobbR.TamblingC.J.TaylorW.A.WatsonF.G. & t’Sas-RolfesM. (2014) Underperformance of African protected area networks and the case for new conservation models: insights from Zambia. PLoS One9e94109. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0094109.
OttT.KerleyG.I.H. & BoshoffA.F. (2006) Preliminary observations on the diet of leopards (Panthera pardus) from a conservation area and adjacent rangelands in the Baviaansklo of region, South Africa. Afric. Zool.4231-37.
RayJ.C. (2001) Carnivore biogeography and conservation in the African forest: a community perspective. In: W.WeberL.J.T.WhiteA.Vedder & L.Naughton-Treves (Eds) African Rainforest Ecology and Conservation – an Interdisciplinary Perspective pp. 214-232. Yale University PressNew Haven, CT, USA.
SelvanK.M.LyngdohS.HabibB. & GopiG.V. (2014) Population density and abundance of sympatric large carnivores in the lowland tropical evergreen forest of Indian eastern Himalayas. Mammal. Biol.79254-258.
SteinA.B.AthreyaV.GerngrossP.BalmeG.HenschelP.KaranthU.MiquelleD.Rostro-GarciaS.KamlerJ.F.LaguardiaA.KhorozyanI. & GhoddousiA. (2016) Panthera pardus (errata version published in 2016). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T15954A102421779. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T15954A50659089.en. Downloaded on 19 July 2018.
ThornM.GreenM.ScottD. & MarnewickK. (2013) Characteristics and determinants of human-carnivore conflict in south African farmland. Biodiv. Conserv.221715-1730.