Article

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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Available from: Qamar Qureshi, Jul 14, 2015
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    • "Available studies in India reported high dietary overlap amongst leopard, wild dog and tiger (Johnsingh 1983; Karanth & Sunquist 1995; Ramesh et al. 2008). Similar to present study, the dietary overlap between leopard and tiger was observed 94% in Nagarhole Tiger Reserve (Karanth & Sunquist 1995) and 82% in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (Ramesh et al. 2008). Evidences suggest that among large sympatric carnivores, the larger carnivores can prey on broader size ranges of prey classes due to Figure 8. Age and sex classes of large herbivores observed by kill records of leopard (n=29) and tiger (n=40) in Sariska Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan, India. "
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    • "They were stored in paper bags, individually labelled with date, location and species for further analysis. Hair of prey often remained undamaged in carnivore scats and hair identification became useful to determine the diet of carnivorous species (Ramesh et al. 2009) where, a combination of hair characteristics like hair width, medullary and cuticular structure was observed microscopically and later compared to reference slides using hair samples from kills of large carnivores and reference collection present at the Research Laboratory of Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun. Data was recorded in terms of frequency of occurrence of individual prey species in scats by examining 20 hairs at random in each scat (Mukherjee et al. 1994). "
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    • "). Leopard density is fairly high in spite of good tiger density and this trend (Qureshi, unpublished data) seems to be due to high prey biomass of cervids (Ramesh et al. 2009) and heterogeneous landscape, which provide opportunity for coexistence of these two large predators at higher densities. Mudumalai TR is a part of Bandipur–Nagarahole– Mudumalai–Wynad landscape unit with an estimated tiger population of 267 (207–327) individuals occupying 9,087 km 2 (Jhala et al. 2008) and harbors probably the largest continuous tiger population in the world. "
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