Diet of common leopard and leopard cat in Murree, Kotli Sattian and Kahuta National Park, Pakistan: contrasting patterns of domestic animal and wild carnivore consumption

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Research Paper 01/07/2019
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Diet of common leopard and leopard cat in Murree, Kotli Sattian and Kahuta National Park, Pakistan: contrasting patterns of domestic animal and wild carnivore consumption

Rukhsana Khatoon, Maqsood Anwar, Ume Habiba, Naureen Mustafa, Sangam Khalil, Lori S. Eggert, Matthew E. Gompper
Int. J. Biosci.15( 1), 322-331, July 2019.
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Predator communities are structured based on how sympatric species differentially use shared resources. To better understand the carnivore community in Murree, Kotli Sattian and Kahuta National Park in Pakistan, we determined the dietary breadth and niche overlap of sympatric carnivore Common leopards (Panthera pardus) and Leopard cats (Prionailurus bengalensis). We identified prey species through scat analysis after molecular confirmation of the source predator species for all Leopard cat scats (n = 42) and a subset of Common leopard scats (n = 38). Common leopard diet was relatively diverse (dietary breadth = 0.8) and comprised 19 mammalian prey species, including large mammal species (ungulates and domestic dogs; Frequency of Occurrence, FO = 34.6%), small (FO = 32.3%) and mid-sized mammals (FO = 27.7%). Even excluding domestic dogs, the frequency of domestic ungulate prey was slightly higher (15.4%) than the frequency of wild ungulates (14.6%). There was a notably high consumption of other carnivore species; five carnivore taxa were consumed by Common leopard. Leopard cat diet was similarly diverse (dietary breadth = 0.6), and included 9 mammalian prey species, as well as wild birds, reptiles and insects. Leopard cats relied heavily on rodents with the FO higher in winter (89.5%) than summer (62.6%). Although there was moderate dietary overlap between the two species (Ojk= 0.53), the observation that Common leopard focuses more on large prey and Leopard cat hunts primarily small mammals suggests competition for dietary resources is relatively low.


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