Food habits and prey selection of tiger and leopard in Mudumalai Tiger Re-serve, Tamil Nadu, India

J. Sci. Trans. Environ. Technov. J. Sci. Trans. Environ. Technov 01/2009; 2(2):170-181.

ABSTRACT Food habits and prey selection of tiger (Panthera tigris) and leopard (Panthera pardus) in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu were assessed from January to August 2008. Chital, Axis axis was the most common prey species in the study area with a density of 55.3 ± 6.28 animals/km 2 followed by common langur Presbytis entellus with 25.9 ± 3.59 animals/ km 2 and gaur Bos gaurus with 11.4 ± 2.14 animals/km 2 .The estimated mean biomass of the potential prey species was 8365.02 kg/km 2 . A total of 179 tiger scats and 108 leopard scats were collected and the prey remains were analyzed. Sambar and chital were the principle prey species for tiger and leopard, respectively, as inferred from the relative biomass con-sumption of prey remains in tiger and leopard scats. The preferred prey species of leopard and tiger were sambar, common langur, wild pig and cattle. The dietary overlap between these two predators was 82% in terms of percentage frequency of occurrence of prey remains in the scats. In terms of biomass consumed, the estimated dietary overlap between tiger and leopard was 72%.

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