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Prey composition in the Persian leopard distribution range in Iran

Authors:
  • Asian Leopard Specialist Society

Abstract and Figures

A study was conducted in 67 protected areas throughout the Islamic Republic of Iran from 2002 to 2006 to investigate diversity and composition of the Persian leopard potential prey species over its distribution range in the country. The study was performed concurrently with leopard distribution studies using direct observations, rapid survey techniques and collection of secondary data. Nine species, namely: wild goat (Capra aegagrus), wild sheep (Ovis orientalis), Persian gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa), chinkara or jebeer gazelle (Gazella bennettii), wild pig (Sus scrofa), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), red deer (Cervus elaphus), Indian crested porcupine (Hystrix indica) and Persian wild ass (Equus onager) were studied as the leopard potential prey species. Although attack of leopard on the Persian wild ass is recorded, we excluded the species from the results due to its limited distribution range. Results indicated that wild goat and wild sheep followed by wild pig and Indian crested porcupine are the most widely distributed potential prey species in the leopard distribution range in Iran. Moreover, leopard presence is highly correlated with presence of the wild goat and wild sheep. Nevertheless, opportunistic predation on smaller species such as hare and rodents is likely as leopard has a diverse diet. Eleven sites are proposed as the most considerable sites with regard to the diversity of prey communities. It is suggested that a leopard national conservation plan is essential to protect the leopard particularly as an umbrella species in its current proposed distribution range. However, the priorities in allocation of resources could be given to the sites have been identified through this study to have the most diverse prey communities (i.e.
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Prey composition in the Persian leopard
distribution range in Iran
AREZOO SANEI1, MOHAMED ZAKARIA2*
and SHIRIN HERMIDAS3
A study was conducted in 67 protected areas throughout the Islamic Republic of Iran
from 2002 to 2006 to investigate diversity and composition of the Persian leopard potential
prey species over its distribution range in the country. The study was performed concurrently
with leopard distribution studies using direct observations, rapid survey techniques and
collection of secondary data. Nine species, namely: wild goat (Capra aegagrus), wild sheep
(Ovis orientalis), Persian gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa), chinkara or jebeer gazelle (Gazella
bennettii), wild pig (Sus scrofa), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), red deer (Cervus elaphus),
Indian crested porcupine (Hystrix indica) and Persian wild ass (Equus onager) were studied
as the leopard potential prey species. Although attack of leopard on the Persian wild ass is
recorded, we excluded the species from the results due to its limited distribution range.
Results indicated that wild goat and wild sheep followed by wild pig and Indian crested
porcupine are the most widely distributed potential prey species in the leopard distribution
range in Iran. Moreover, leopard presence is highly correlated with presence of the wild goat
and wild sheep. Nevertheless, opportunistic predation on smaller species such as hare and
rodents is likely as leopard has a diverse diet. Eleven sites are proposed as the most considerable
sites with regard to the diversity of prey communities. It is suggested that a leopard national
conservation plan is essential to protect the leopard particularly as an umbrella species in its
current proposed distribution range. However, the priorities in allocation of resources could
be given to the sites have been identified through this study to have the most diverse prey
communities (i.e. Golestan, Jahan Nama, Parvar, Touran, Khosh Yeilagh, Sorkheh Hesar,
Kavir, Sarigol and Salook).
Key words: Panthera pardus saxicolor, Persian leopard, potential prey, prey composition,
prey availability, distribution range, Iran
ASIA LIFE SCIENCES Supplement 7: 19-30, 2011
The Asian International Journal of Life Sciences
1Asian Leopard Specialist Society, Tehran, Iran. e-mail: arezoo.saneii@leopardspecialists.com &
arezoo.sanei@gmail.com Website: www.leopardspecialists.com
2Department of Forest Management, Faculty of Forestry, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400
UPM Serdang, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia. *Corresponding author: e-mail-
mzakaria@putra.upm.edu.my
3Asian Leopard Specialist Society, Tehran, Iran. e-mail: felids@persian-leopard.com
Received 22 January 2011; Accepted 15 August 2011.
© Rushing Water Publishers Ltd. 2011. Printed in the Philippines
Sanei, Zakaria & Hermidas 2011
20 Asia Life Sciences Suppl. 7, 2011
INTRODUCTION
The Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor Pocock 1927) is listed as a
protected species under the Iran’s Wildlife Conservation Law enacted in 1999.
Leopards have a wide distribution in the country (Sanei 2005, 2007 in Persian) and
their presence has been verified in 74 out of 90 protected and non-protected sites (i.e.
82%) across the country (Sanei & Zakaria 2011). Kiabi et al. (2002) estimated that
550-850 individuals of leopards are present in Iran while 55% of them are found in
protected areas. Prey availability in the leopard present areas in Iran is a critical concern
to sustain current leopard populations in the country.
Leopards are well known to have a catholic diet as they have been reported to
feed on a wide variety of species ranging from small invertebrates and rodents to
large prey species the size of a giraffe calf (Ott 2004, Mills & Harvey 2001, Stevenson-
Hamilton 1947). Various studies have examined the sizes of preys most preferred by
the leopards. Hayward et al. (2006) studied 33 published and unpublished studies
from 13 countries on leopard diet and suggested that leopards significantly prefer to
feed on prey species with 25 kg of mean body mass. Owen-Smith and Mills (2008)
revealed that even though leopard, cheetah and wild dog in the Kruger National Park,
South Africa feed on prey species of about half to twice their weights, but dietary
preferences are different.
Several studies have suggested that leopard is not a non-selective predator in
terms of type and size of prey species (Hayward et al. 2006, Karanth & Sunquist 2000,
Karanth & Sunquist 1995, Hart et al. 1996). Karanth and Sunquist (1995) suggested
that selective predation by leopards in Nagarahole, southern India is a mechanism
which helps them to coexist with other carnivores.
Principally, daily food consumption of an adult leopard is estimated as 2.8 kg/
day for a female and 3.5 kg/day for a male which means 1,008 and 1,260 kg/year for
one female and one male respectively (Baily 1993). However, this amount could differ
as leopard’s body weight is highly variable (Stuart & Stuart 2000).
Karanth and Sunquist (1995) reported that leopards in Nagarahole, southern
India feed on chital (69%) supplemented by sambar (Cervus unicolor), gaur (Bos
gaurus), muntjac (Muntiacus muntjac), langur (Presbytis entellus) and Indian crested
porcupine (Hystrix indica). Grey duiker (Sylvicapra grimmia), steenbok (Raphicerus
campestris), impala (Aepyceros melampus), bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus) and
reedbuck (Redunca fulvorufula) were reported from leopard diet in Kruger National
Park (Owen-Smith & Mills 2008). Feeding on wild boar was reported from the rainforests
of Malaysia by Kawanishi (2002). Sanei and Zakaria (2011) found that wild boar is the
main factor affecting leopard distribution pattern in a highly fragmented forest in
Malaysia. In the Middle East, Khorozyan et al. (2005) and Khorozyan and Malkhasyan
(2005) reported that in Armenia, leopard feeds upon benzoar goat (Capra aegagrus),
wild boar, wild boar (Sus scrofa), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), Indian crested
porcupine (H. indica) and European hare (Lepus europaeus). However, its principal
prey there is the benzoar goat.
Current study conducted in the sites has been reported by Sanei (2005, 2007;
Table 1) as the leopard distribution range in protected areas in the country to
Sanei, Zakaria & Hermidas 2011
20 Asia Life Sciences Suppl. 7, 2011
INTRODUCTION
The Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor Pocock 1927) is listed as a
protected species under the Iran’s Wildlife Conservation Law enacted in 1999.
Leopards have a wide distribution in the country (Sanei 2005, 2007 in Persian) and
their presence has been verified in 74 out of 90 protected and non-protected sites (i.e.
82%) across the country (Sanei & Zakaria 2011). Kiabi et al. (2002) estimated that
550-850 individuals of leopards are present in Iran while 55% of them are found in
protected areas. Prey availability in the leopard present areas in Iran is a critical concern
to sustain current leopard populations in the country.
Leopards are well known to have a catholic diet as they have been reported to
feed on a wide variety of species ranging from small invertebrates and rodents to
large prey species the size of a giraffe calf (Ott 2004, Mills & Harvey 2001, Stevenson-
Hamilton 1947). Various studies have examined the sizes of preys most preferred by
the leopards. Hayward et al. (2006) studied 33 published and unpublished studies
from 13 countries on leopard diet and suggested that leopards significantly prefer to
feed on prey species with 25 kg of mean body mass. Owen-Smith and Mills (2008)
revealed that even though leopard, cheetah and wild dog in the Kruger National Park,
South Africa feed on prey species of about half to twice their weights, but dietary
preferences are different.
Several studies have suggested that leopard is not a non-selective predator in
terms of type and size of prey species (Hayward et al. 2006, Karanth & Sunquist 2000,
Karanth & Sunquist 1995, Hart et al. 1996). Karanth and Sunquist (1995) suggested
that selective predation by leopards in Nagarahole, southern India is a mechanism
which helps them to coexist with other carnivores.
Principally, daily food consumption of an adult leopard is estimated as 2.8 kg/
day for a female and 3.5 kg/day for a male which means 1,008 and 1,260 kg/year for
one female and one male respectively (Baily 1993). However, this amount could differ
as leopard’s body weight is highly variable (Stuart & Stuart 2000).
Karanth and Sunquist (1995) reported that leopards in Nagarahole, southern
India feed on chital (69%) supplemented by sambar (Cervus unicolor), gaur (Bos
gaurus), muntjac (Muntiacus muntjac), langur (Presbytis entellus) and Indian crested
porcupine (Hystrix indica). Grey duiker (Sylvicapra grimmia), steenbok (Raphicerus
campestris), impala (Aepyceros melampus), bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus) and
reedbuck (Redunca fulvorufula) were reported from leopard diet in Kruger National
Park (Owen-Smith & Mills 2008). Feeding on wild boar was reported from the rainforests
of Malaysia by Kawanishi (2002). Sanei and Zakaria (2011) found that wild boar is the
main factor affecting leopard distribution pattern in a highly fragmented forest in
Malaysia. In the Middle East, Khorozyan et al. (2005) and Khorozyan and Malkhasyan
(2005) reported that in Armenia, leopard feeds upon benzoar goat (Capra aegagrus),
wild boar, wild boar (Sus scrofa), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), Indian crested
porcupine (H. indica) and European hare (Lepus europaeus). However, its principal
prey there is the benzoar goat.
Current study conducted in the sites has been reported by Sanei (2005, 2007;
Table 1) as the leopard distribution range in protected areas in the country to
The Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor Pocock 1927) is listed as
a protected species under the Iran’s Wildlife Conservation Law enacted in 1999.
Leopards have a wide distribution in the country (Sanei 2005, 2007 in Persian) and
their presence has been veried in 74 out of 90 protected and non-protected sites (i.e.
82%) across the country (Sanei & Zakaria 2011). Kiabi et al. (2002) estimated that
550-850 individuals of leopards are present in Iran while 55% of them are found in
protected areas. Prey availability in the leopard presence areas in Iran is a critical
concern to sustain current leopard population in the country.
Leopards are well known to have a catholic diet as they have been reported to
feed on a wide variety of species ranging from small invertebrates and rodents to large
prey species the size of a giraffe calf (Ott 2004, Mills & Harvey 2001, Stevenson-
Hamilton 1947). Various studies have examined the sizes of preys most preferred by
the leopards. Hayward et al. (2006) studied 33 published and unpublished studies
from 13 countries on leopard diet and suggested that leopards signicantly prefer to
feed on prey species with 25 kg of mean body mass. Owen-Smith and Mills (2008)
revealed that even though leopard, cheetah and wild dog in the Kruger National
Park, South Africa feed on prey species of about half to twice their weights, but
dietary preferences are different.
Several studies have suggested that leopard is not a non-selective predator in
terms of type and size of prey species (Hayward et al. 2006, Karanth & Sunquist
2000, Karanth & Sunquist 1995, Hart et al. 1996). Karanth and Sunquist (1995)
suggested that selective predation by leopards in Nagarahole, southern India is a
mechanism which helps them to coexist with other carnivores.
Principally, daily food consumption of an adult leopard is estimated as 2.8 kg/
day for a female and 3.5 kg/day for a male which means 1,008 and 1,260 kg/year
for one female and one male respectively (Baily 1993). However, this amount could
differ as leopard’s body weight is highly variable (Stuart & Stuart 2000).
Karanth and Sunquist (1995) reported that leopards in Nagarahole, southern
India feed on chital (69%) supplemented by sambar (Cervus unicolor), gaur (Bos
gaurus), muntjac (Muntiacus muntjac), langur (Presbytis entellus) and Indian crested
porcupine (Hystrix indica). Grey duiker (Sylvicapra grimmia), steenbok (Raphicerus
campestris), impala (Aepyceros melampus), bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus) and
reedbuck (Redunca fulvorufula) were reported from leopard diet in Kruger National
Park (Owen-Smith & Mills 2008). Feeding on wild boar was reported from the
rainforests of Malaysia by Kawanishi (2002). Sanei and Zakaria (2011) found that wild
boar is the main factor affecting leopard distribution pattern in a highly fragmented
forest in Malaysia. In the Middle East, Khorozyan et al. (2005) and Khorozyan and
Malkhasyan (2005) reported that in Armenia, leopard feeds upon bezoar goat (Capra
aegagrus), wild boar (Sus scrofa), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), Indian crested
porcupine (H. indica) and European hare (Lepus europaeus). However, its principal
prey there is the benzoar goat (Capra aegagrus).
Persian leopard prey availability
Asia Life Sciences Suppl. 7, 2011 21
investigate the composition of potential leopard prey species. Null hypothesis
indicating non-significant correlation of presence/absence of each potential prey
species and leopard presence/absence was tested.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Study area. Iran has a total area of 1,623,779 km² and is located in the mid-southern
portion of the Northern Hemisphere, bounded by the Caspian Sea in the north and
the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman in the south. Hence, diverse ecological climatic
zones are present in this country. Sanei and Zakaria (2008) found that leopards in Iran
are mostly found in mountainous habitats with less than 20 days of ice-cover per
year. They more often inhabit areas with mean annual temperature of 13 to 18 ºC while
majority of ecological zones they occupy receive a maximum of 200 mm rainfall per
year. However, from 1999 to 2003, the minimum and maximum rainfall per year in the
leopard distribution range were 24.00 and 1,364 mm, respectively. Sanei (2005 &
2007) reported that 43 out of 67 protected areas studied throughout the provinces of
Iran have leopard detections. Parallel studies on the prey present in these sites (i.e.
all 67, Figure 1) were also conducted.
Data collection and analysis. The study was conducted from 2002 to 2006 in
67 protected areas throughout the country and concurrently with leopard distribution
(presence/absence) studies. All prey species greater than 10 kg are accounted for in
this study based on the lower limit reported by Hayward et al. (2006) to be the
preferred weight range by leopards in 41 studied locations in 13 countries. To record
the potential leopard prey species within the study sites, field surveys were conducted
by either the first author or local experts participating in the project and skilled at
recording direct sightings of prey species, leopard kills and indirect signs (e.g. tracks,
scats, scrapes, etc.). Data on Persian wild ass (Equus onager) was excluded from the
results as it had a very limited distribution range within the country.
Interviews with local communities, shepherds and guards of the Department of
Environment (DoE) were conducted to asses their knowledge about the prey species
present in the area. Questionnaires were filled up by guards working in the protected
areas or staff of the Department of Environment, in each province to record new
reports of kills, direct observations and indirect signs of preys. Reports of DoE
regarding traditional annual counting of prey species in protected areas and daily
reports of protected areas about new observations of wildlife species in each habitat,
were collected.
Null hypothesis indicating non-significant correlation between leopard and
recorded prey species across the identified leopard distribution range was tested for
each potential prey species using Spearman’s Correlation Coefficient and SPSS version
17.0. ArcGis version 9.3 was used for mapping the distribution of each prey species in
leopard range within the protected areas.
RESULTS
Table 2 shows the frequency of eight prey species, namely: wild goat, wild
sheep, Persian gazelle, chinkara, wild pig, roe deer, red deer and Indian crested
Persian leopard prey availability
Asia Life Sciences Suppl. 7, 2011 21
investigate the composition of potential leopard prey species. Null hypothesis
indicating non-significant correlation of presence/absence of each potential prey
species and leopard presence/absence was tested.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Study area. Iran has a total area of 1,623,779 km² and is located in the mid-southern
portion of the Northern Hemisphere, bounded by the Caspian Sea in the north and
the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman in the south. Hence, diverse ecological climatic
zones are present in this country. Sanei and Zakaria (2008) found that leopards in Iran
are mostly found in mountainous habitats with less than 20 days of ice-cover per
year. They more often inhabit areas with mean annual temperature of 13 to 18 ºC while
majority of ecological zones they occupy receive a maximum of 200 mm rainfall per
year. However, from 1999 to 2003, the minimum and maximum rainfall per year in the
leopard distribution range were 24.00 and 1,364 mm, respectively. Sanei (2005 &
2007) reported that 43 out of 67 protected areas studied throughout the provinces of
Iran have leopard detections. Parallel studies on the prey present in these sites (i.e.
all 67, Figure 1) were also conducted.
Data collection and analysis. The study was conducted from 2002 to 2006 in
67 protected areas throughout the country and concurrently with leopard distribution
(presence/absence) studies. All prey species greater than 10 kg are accounted for in
this study based on the lower limit reported by Hayward et al. (2006) to be the
preferred weight range by leopards in 41 studied locations in 13 countries. To record
the potential leopard prey species within the study sites, field surveys were conducted
by either the first author or local experts participating in the project and skilled at
recording direct sightings of prey species, leopard kills and indirect signs (e.g. tracks,
scats, scrapes, etc.). Data on Persian wild ass (Equus onager) was excluded from the
results as it had a very limited distribution range within the country.
Interviews with local communities, shepherds and guards of the Department of
Environment (DoE) were conducted to asses their knowledge about the prey species
present in the area. Questionnaires were filled up by guards working in the protected
areas or staff of the Department of Environment, in each province to record new
reports of kills, direct observations and indirect signs of preys. Reports of DoE
regarding traditional annual counting of prey species in protected areas and daily
reports of protected areas about new observations of wildlife species in each habitat,
were collected.
Null hypothesis indicating non-significant correlation between leopard and
recorded prey species across the identified leopard distribution range was tested for
each potential prey species using Spearman’s Correlation Coefficient and SPSS version
17.0. ArcGis version 9.3 was used for mapping the distribution of each prey species in
leopard range within the protected areas.
RESULTS
Table 2 shows the frequency of eight prey species, namely: wild goat, wild
sheep, Persian gazelle, chinkara, wild pig, roe deer, red deer and Indian crested
Study area. Iran has a total area of 1,623,779 km² and is located in the mid-southern
portion of the Northern Hemisphere, bounded by the Caspian Sea in the north and
the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman in the south. Hence, diverse ecological climatic
zones are present in this country. Sanei and Zakaria (2008) found that leopards in
Iran are mostly found in mountainous habitats with less than 20 days of ice-cover
per year. They more often inhabit areas with mean annual temperature of 13 to 18
ºC while majority of ecological zones they occupy receive a maximum of 200 mm
rainfall per year. However, from 1999 to 2003, the minimum and maximum rainfall
per year in the leopard distribution range were 24.00 and 1,364 mm, respectively.
Sanei (2005 & 2007) reported that 43 out of 67 protected areas studied throughout
the provinces of Iran have leopard detections. We conducted parallel studies to
investigate presence of prey in these sites (i.e. all 67, Figure 1).
Sanei, Zakaria & Hermidas 2011
22 Asia Life Sciences Suppl. 7, 2011
Table 1. Location of study sites in Iran and their protection category.
N
o. Site Name Protection status1Province Area (ha)
1 Kiamaki WR East Azarbaijan 95,742
2 Arasbaran PA East Azarbaijan 80,255
3 Marakan PA West Azarbaijan 102,966
4 Agh Dagh PA Ardebil 4,767
5 Kolah Qazi NP/WR Isfahan 50,957
6 Muteh WR Isfahan 200,879
7 Qamishlou WR Isfahan 90,207
8 Manesht & Ghalarang PA Ilam 29,146
9 Khojir NP Tehran 10,013
10 Sorkheh Hesar NP Tehran 9,168
11 Lar NP Tehran 29,778
12 Jajrood PA Tehran 55,077
13 Varjin PA Tehran 26,861
14 Kavir NP/PA Semnan 693,908
15 Central Alborz PA Tehran & Mazandaran 410,790
16 Tang-e-Sayyad NP/PA Chahar Mahal & Bakhtiari 50,096
17 Sabz Kouh PA Chahar Mahal & Bakhtiari 54,291
18 Tandooreh NP/PA
N
orth Khorasan & Razavi Khorasan 37,948
19 Ghorkho
d
PA
N
orth Khorasan & Razavi Khorasan 43,778
20 Sarani PA
N
orth, Razavi & South Khorasan 15,895
21 Sarigol NP/PA
N
orth, Razavi & South Khorasan 28,288
22 Salook NP/PA
N
orth, Razavi & South Khorasan 19,802
23 Sorkhabad PA Zanjan 120,010
24 Parvar PA Semnan 66,626
25 Turan NP/WR Semnan 362,912
26 Khosh Yeilagh WR Semnan 138,118
27 Hormod PA Fars 207,961
28 Bamoo NP Fars 48,678
29 Mian Jangal PA Fars 56,528
30 Rochun WR Kerman 28,171
31 Khabr NP Kerman 149,934
32 Bisotoon PA/WR Kermanshah 95,601
33 Boozin & Markhil PA Kermanshah 23,554
34 Varmanjeh* WR Kermanshah 28,720
35 Dena PA Kohgiluyeh & Boyer Ahmad 92,966
36 Eastern Dena PA Kohgiluyeh & Boyer Ahmad 28,202
37 Mount Khiz-o-Sorkh PA Kohgiluyeh & Boyer Ahmad 36,234
38 Golestan NP Golestan 87,242
39 Jahan Nama PA Golestan 38,403
40 Oshtorankouh PA Lorestan 98,250
41 Sefidkouh PA Lorestan 71,477
42 Haftad Gholeh PA Markazi 97,407
43
N
aiybandan WR Yazd 1,516,994
1NP = National Park; PA = Protected Area; WR = Wildlife Refuge.
*Protection status during the conduct of research study; status was changed thereafter.
[Source: The study sites were identified by Sanei (2005, 2007) as the leopard distribution range in
protected areas in Iran.]
Persian leopard prey availability
Asia Life Sciences Suppl. 7, 2011 23
Figure 1. Distribution of prey species within 43 leopard distribution protected
sites in Iran.
Sanei, Zakaria & Hermidas 2011
24 Asia Life Sciences Suppl. 7, 2011
Sanei, Zakaria & Hermidas 2011
24 Asia Life Sciences Suppl. 7, 2011
Table 2. Presence of each prey species in total study sites (i.e. 67 sites) and in the leopard
distribution range (i.e.43 sites) and their corresponding Spearman’s Correlation Coefficient.
Prey Species1 WG WS PG CH WP RO.D RE.D ICP
Parameter n % n % n % n % n % n % n % n %
Total study sites 55 82 53 79 23 34 14 21 39 58 5 7 4 6 39 58
Sites within leopard
distribution
43 100 41 95 15 35 8 19 28 65 5 12 4 9 28 65
p value 0.000 0.001 0.806 0.369 0.341 0.104 0.149 0.341
Spearman’s Correlation
Coefficient
0.456 0.300 0.238 0.157 0.086 0.562 0.307 0.112
1WG – wild goat (Capra aegagrus); WS – wild sheep (Ovis orientalis); PG – Persian gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa);
CH – chinkara (Gazella bennettii); WP – wild pig (Sus scrofa); RO.D – roe deer (Capreolus capreolus); RE.D – red deer (Cervus
elaphus); ICP – Indian crested porcupine (Hystrix indica); n = number of sites.
Persian leopard prey availability
Asia Life Sciences Suppl. 7, 2011 25
porcupine in the total study sites and those of leopard distribution range. Wild goat
and wild sheep were the most common prey species in all sites and in the sites with
leopard distribution. The wild pig and Indian crested porcupine were the next most
widely distributed species within the leopard distribution sites. Distribution of Persian
gazelle and chinkara was limited to 15 and 8 sites, respectively while roe deer and red
deer were only available in 5 and 4 sites with leopard presence. Consequently,
Spearman’s Correlation Coefficient showed a highly significant correlation between
leopard presence and presence of wild goat and wild sheep (wild goat: p = 0.000,
r = 0.456; wild sheep: p=0.001, r = 0.300) while this correlation for the rest of the
species was not significant (Table 2). Figure 1 shows the distribution of each species
within leopard distribution range in the protected areas. Therefore, null hypothesis
indicating non-significant correlation of leopard presence with presence of wild goat
and wild sheep was rejected while this hypothesis for other species was accepted.
Eleven sites, namely: Golestan, Jahan Nama, Parvar, Touran, Khosh Yeilagh, Sorkheh
Hesar, Kavir, Sarigol, Salook, Mianjangal and Khabr were found to have the most
diverse potential leopard prey communities (Figure 2). Five or more potential leopard
prey species were found to exist in these habitats. This selection was based
Figure 2. The most valuable sites within the leopard distribution range as far as prey
diversity in each area is concerned.
p=0.001,
Sanei, Zakaria & Hermidas 2011
26 Asia Life Sciences Suppl. 7, 2011
on the idea that four species of wild goat, wild sheep, wild pig and Indian crested
porcupine have a wide distribution in the country (Table 1), while the rest of the
selected potential prey species have been restricted to some habitats.
Attack on an Indian crested porcupine was reported from Touran in Semnan
Province in 2002. In addition, a dead leopard was found in Khuzestan Province in
2002 while it had a porcupine thorn on the front leg. Kills of wild sheep, wild goat,
Persian wild ass and Persian gazelle were found while (1) leopard indirect signs were
available near the kills; (2) leopard was found when it was feeding on its prey (e.g.
Touranl, Semnan Province in 2002) or (3) it was observed while it was on the stalk (e.g.
Bamoo, Fars Province in 2004). Attack on domestic horses was reported from Razavi
Khorasan where subsequently, the responsible leopard was removed from the habitat
by DoE staff. Attacks on dog (Mazandaran Province in 2003; Touran in 2002), jackal
(Tange Sayad, Chahar Mahal and Bakhtiari Province), livestock (e.g. Mianjangal,
Fars Province in 2005; Khaeez, Kohgiluyeh & Boyer Ahmad; Tarome-sofla, Zanjan
Province in 2003), cow (Gilan Province in 2003 & 2004) and camel (Ariz, Yazd Province
in 2002 and 2003) were recorded.
DISCUSSION
The most diverse potential leopard prey communities were found in the northern
parts of the country (Figure 2). Previous studies indicated that compared to the
southern area, this region supports a considerable leopard population (Kiabi et al.
2002) and leopard presence sites (Sanei & Zakaria 2011). Among the eleven selected
sites with the most diverse prey communities, Golestan National Park and Jahan
Nama Protected Area with a total area of more than 126,000 ha are partially covered
with Hyrcanian forests. All the leopard presence sites were found in the mountainous
areas (Sanei & Zakaria 2008) and wild goat has been recorded across the entire
leopard distribution range in the country. It is suggested that these two factors (i.e.
mountainous feature and presence of wild goat) could be considered as the main
requirements for a potential leopard habitat in Iran. The importance of wild goat in the
leopard diet in Iran is supported by previous studies (Chalani, unpublished data)
concerning leopard diet in Tandoureh National Park located in the northeast of Iran.
However, the species is known as a flexible species in terms of habitat and prey
(Hayward et al. 2006, Mills & Harvey 2001, Grassman 1997, Lekagul & McNeely
1977). Therefore, its survival may not be restricted to the presence of these factors
only.
After the wild goat and wild sheep, wild pig and Indian crested porcupine were
found to be the most available prey species in the leopard distribution sites. However,
distribution of roe deer, red deer and chinkara is restricted to a few sites (Table 1).
Although, it was reported by Hayward et al. (2006) that leopards mostly prefer
preys within 10-40 kg weight range, the possibility that leopards in Iran mostly rely
on preys much heavier than this range was suggested. There was a highly significant
correlation between presence of leopards with availability of wild goat (up to 120 kg;
Ziaie 2008) and wild sheep (up to 85 kg; Ziaie 2008). Even though feedings upon
Persian leopard prey availability
Asia Life Sciences Suppl. 7, 2011 27
kids and lambs were also found, attack on adult wild goat and wild
sheep was frequently observed and documented in various habitats. In addition,
attack of a leopard on an adult Persian wild ass (normally more than 150 kg; Ziaie
2008) was recorded near Shourab spring in Touran (Semnan Province in 2002) while
leopard had moved to the flat area which is a long distance from neighbouring moun-
tains. Feeding on wild pigs (up to 300 kg; Ziaie 2008) is also common in the several
places where the prey species is available as wild pig fur was found in more than 70%
of collected leopard feces in Golestan National Park, north of Iran in 2006 (Sanei &
Zakaria, unpublished data). Average of leopard total body size in 25
individuals (including both male and female) of leopards reported by Sanei (2007)
and Etemad (1985) from various parts of the country was calculated as 259 cm. In
addition, body mass of a young male individual of leopard from the northern part of
the country was obtained as 64 kg. Therefore, it was suggested that the ability to
attack on larger preys is possible due to the bigger body size of Persian leopards
particularly in the northern parts of the country compared to some other leopard
subspecies (e.g. total body size of an adult Indochinese male leopard = 211 cm,
weight = 40 kg, Grassman 1999; an adult male Indian leopard body size = 223 cm, body
weight = 58 kg, Odden & Wegge 2005; an adult male African leopard total body
size = 216 cm, Sanei 2007; an adult Malaysian male leopard body size = 202 cm, weight
= 52 kg, unpublished data).
Feeding upon larger preys is supported by Karanth and Sunquit (1995) as they
found that leopards in Nagarahole National Park, India feed on preys within
30-175 kg. They also suggested that leopard selective predation is a mechanism
which helps it to coexist with other carnivores in the area. However, leopards in Iran
are considered as the largest carnivore in their distribution range in the country while
they coexist with wolves in some habitats. Studies are required to investigate
overlapping feeding range of these two carnivores in the habitats which they coexist.
Wild goat inhabits the mountains particularly where there is a mixture of rocky
outcrops and vegetation (Genov et al. 2009). In addition, it is widely found in the
leopard distribution range (i.e. 100% of the leopard distribution sites, Figure 1). On
the other hand, wild sheep mostly inhabit less slopy mountains and hills (Firuz 2000)
and they were found in 95% of leopard distribution range in the protected areas.
These habitat types are reported to be the main habitats of the leopards in their
distribution range in the country (Sanei & Zakaria 2008). Therefore, a highly significant
correlation of leopard presence with presence of wild sheep and wild goat could be
due to the wide distribution of these species in the country and the same habitat use.
Persian gazelle and chinkara are mostly found in steppes and plains (Nowzari et al.
2007). These habitats provide less ambushes to stalk the preys (see also Jenny &
Zuberbuhler 2005, Hart et al. 1996, Hes 1991) and therefore, possibly it can not be the
preferred leopard prey. However, considering the leopard flexible diet (Mills & Harvey
2001) and our records of occasional hunting of gazelles in Bamoo National Park
(2004), they still remain as a potential prey for the species, particularly when they
move near hills and corridors for the water resources. Feeding upon smaller
Persian leopard prey availability
Asia Life Sciences Suppl. 7, 2011 27
kids and lambs were also found, attack on adult wild goat and wild
sheep was frequently observed and documented in various habitats. In addition,
attack of a leopard on an adult Persian wild ass (normally more than 150 kg; Ziaie
2008) was recorded near Shourab spring in Touran (Semnan Province in 2002) while
leopard had moved to the flat area which is a long distance from neighbouring moun-
tains. Feeding on wild pigs (up to 300 kg; Ziaie 2008) is also common in the several
places where the prey species is available as wild pig fur was found in more than 70%
of collected leopard feces in Golestan National Park, north of Iran in 2006 (Sanei &
Zakaria, unpublished data). Average of leopard total body size in 25
individuals (including both male and female) of leopards reported by Sanei (2007)
and Etemad (1985) from various parts of the country was calculated as 259 cm. In
addition, body mass of a young male individual of leopard from the northern part of
the country was obtained as 64 kg. Therefore, it was suggested that the ability to
attack on larger preys is possible due to the bigger body size of Persian leopards
particularly in the northern parts of the country compared to some other leopard
subspecies (e.g. total body size of an adult Indochinese male leopard = 211 cm,
weight = 40 kg, Grassman 1999; an adult male Indian leopard body size = 223 cm, body
weight = 58 kg, Odden & Wegge 2005; an adult male African leopard total body
size = 216 cm, Sanei 2007; an adult Malaysian male leopard body size = 202 cm, weight
= 52 kg, unpublished data).
Feeding upon larger preys is supported by Karanth and Sunquit (1995) as they
found that leopards in Nagarahole National Park, India feed on preys within
30-175 kg. They also suggested that leopard selective predation is a mechanism
which helps it to coexist with other carnivores in the area. However, leopards in Iran
are considered as the largest carnivore in their distribution range in the country while
they coexist with wolves in some habitats. Studies are required to investigate
overlapping feeding range of these two carnivores in the habitats which they coexist.
Wild goat inhabits the mountains particularly where there is a mixture of rocky
outcrops and vegetation (Genov et al. 2009). In addition, it is widely found in the
leopard distribution range (i.e. 100% of the leopard distribution sites, Figure 1). On
the other hand, wild sheep mostly inhabit less slopy mountains and hills (Firuz 2000)
and they were found in 95% of leopard distribution range in the protected areas.
These habitat types are reported to be the main habitats of the leopards in their
distribution range in the country (Sanei & Zakaria 2008). Therefore, a highly significant
correlation of leopard presence with presence of wild sheep and wild goat could be
due to the wide distribution of these species in the country and the same habitat use.
Persian gazelle and chinkara are mostly found in steppes and plains (Nowzari et al.
2007). These habitats provide less ambushes to stalk the preys (see also Jenny &
Zuberbuhler 2005, Hart et al. 1996, Hes 1991) and therefore, possibly it can not be the
preferred leopard prey. However, considering the leopard flexible diet (Mills & Harvey
2001) and our records of occasional hunting of gazelles in Bamoo National Park
(2004), they still remain as a potential prey for the species, particularly when they
move near hills and corridors for the water resources. Feeding upon smaller
kids and lambs were also found, attack on adult wild goat and wild sheep was
frequently observed and documented in various habitats. In addition, attack of a
leopard on an adult Persian wild ass (normally more than 150 kg; Ziaie 2008) was
recorded near Shourab spring in Touran (Semnan Province in 2002) while leopard
had moved to the at area which is a long distance from neighbouring mountains.
Feeding on wild pigs (up to 300 kg; Ziaie 2008) is also common in the several
places where the prey species is available as wild pig fur was found in more than
70% of collected leopard feces in Golestan National Park, north of Iran in 2006
(Sanei & Zakaria, unpublished data). Average of leopard total body size in 25
individuals (including both male and female) of leopards reported by Sanei (2007)
and Etemad (1985) from various parts of the country was calculated as 259 cm. In
addition, body mass of a young male individual of leopard from the northern part
of the country was obtained as 64 kg. Therefore, it was suggested that the ability
to attack on larger preys is possible due to the bigger body size of Persian leopards
particularly in the northern parts of the country compared to some other leopard
subspecies (e.g. total body size of an adult Indochinese male leopard = 211 cm,
weight = 40 kg, Grassman 1999; an adult male Indian leopard body size = 223 cm,
body weight = 58 kg, Odden & Wegge 2005; an adult male African leopard total
body size = 216 cm, Sanei 2007; an adult Malaysian male leopard body size = 202
cm, weight = 52 kg, unpublished data).
Sanei, Zakaria & Hermidas 2011
28 Asia Life Sciences Suppl. 7, 2011
species such as rodents and birds were found in the feces collected from Tandoureh
National Park, Razavi Khorasan Province (Chalani, unpublished data).
There is no specific study on possible leopard seasonal migrations in the country
following the movements of preys due to seasonal changes in vegetation sufficiency
in each habitat. However, evidences of leopard seasonal migrations were found in
Marakan in Western Azerbaijan Province and Mirza Arab Mountain in the boundary
of Iran and Afghanistan. Further studies are required to investigate the movement
behavior of leopards in these areas. We suggest that it is essential to design and
conduct a national leopard conservation plan particularly as an umbrella species in
its currently identified distribution range as reported by Sanei (2005, 2007). However,
high priorities should be given to the sites that were identified in this study to have
the most diverse prey communities, particularly those located in the northern part of
the country (i.e. Golestan, Jahan Nama, Parvar, Touran, Khosh Yeilagh, Sorkheh
Hesar, Kavir, Sarigol and Salook). It is worth mentioning that the non-detection of a
species in a habitat does not mean that the species is certainly absent there (MacKenzie
et al. 2002). In addition, the presence of various prey species in the study sites does
not imply that existing prey biomass is sufficient to supply a viable leopard population
in each area. Consequently, further detailed studies are required to investigate the
abundance of the prey species and the carrying capacity of each habitat in the
leopard distribution range in the country.
CONCLUSION
Nine species, namely: wild goat, wild sheep, wild pig, Persian gazelle, chinkara,
roe deer, red deer, Indian crested porcupine and Persian wild ass were selected as the
potential leopard prey species in Iran. Wild goat and wild sheep were found to be the
most available prey species in the leopard distribution range. Furthermore, there was
a high correlation between the presence of the leopard and occurrence of these prey
species. The most diverse community of potential leopard prey species was found in
the northern part of the country. Eleven localities, namely: Golestan, Jahan Nama,
Parvar, Touran, Khosh Yeilagh, Sorkheh Hesar, Kavir, Sarigol, Salook, Mianjangal
and Khabr are considered as the most diverse sites in terms of prey species.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors acknowledge the generous assistance of residents of the local settlements,
the guards and staff of the Iran Department of Environment present in all the study sites.
Grateful appreciation is extended to the late Dr. H. Asadi, Mr. H. Ziaie and Dr. B.H. Kiabi for
invaluable information provided during separate consultations. Finally, thanks are due to Gh.
Sanei, Behshahr Kar Company for providing generous financial assistance to the research
study and to Dr. Jan Janecka and Dr. Igor Khorozyan for their valuable comments on the
manuscript.
LITERATURE CITED
Bailey, T.N. 1993. The African Leopard: Ecology and Behavior of a Solitary Felid. Columbia
University Press, New York, USA, 429 p.
Sanei, Zakaria & Hermidas 2011
28 Asia Life Sciences Suppl. 7, 2011
species such as rodents and birds were found in the feces collected from Tandoureh
National Park, Razavi Khorasan Province (Chalani, unpublished data).
There is no specific study on possible leopard seasonal migrations in the country
following the movements of preys due to seasonal changes in vegetation sufficiency
in each habitat. However, evidences of leopard seasonal migrations were found in
Marakan in Western Azerbaijan Province and Mirza Arab Mountain in the boundary
of Iran and Afghanistan. Further studies are required to investigate the movement
behavior of leopards in these areas. We suggest that it is essential to design and
conduct a national leopard conservation plan particularly as an umbrella species in
its currently identified distribution range as reported by Sanei (2005, 2007). However,
high priorities should be given to the sites that were identified in this study to have
the most diverse prey communities, particularly those located in the northern part of
the country (i.e. Golestan, Jahan Nama, Parvar, Touran, Khosh Yeilagh, Sorkheh
Hesar, Kavir, Sarigol and Salook). It is worth mentioning that the non-detection of a
species in a habitat does not mean that the species is certainly absent there (MacKenzie
et al. 2002). In addition, the presence of various prey species in the study sites does
not imply that existing prey biomass is sufficient to supply a viable leopard population
in each area. Consequently, further detailed studies are required to investigate the
abundance of the prey species and the carrying capacity of each habitat in the
leopard distribution range in the country.
CONCLUSION
Nine species, namely: wild goat, wild sheep, wild pig, Persian gazelle, chinkara,
roe deer, red deer, Indian crested porcupine and Persian wild ass were selected as the
potential leopard prey species in Iran. Wild goat and wild sheep were found to be the
most available prey species in the leopard distribution range. Furthermore, there was
a high correlation between the presence of the leopard and occurrence of these prey
species. The most diverse community of potential leopard prey species was found in
the northern part of the country. Eleven localities, namely: Golestan, Jahan Nama,
Parvar, Touran, Khosh Yeilagh, Sorkheh Hesar, Kavir, Sarigol, Salook, Mianjangal
and Khabr are considered as the most diverse sites in terms of prey species.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors acknowledge the generous assistance of residents of the local settlements,
the guards and staff of the Iran Department of Environment present in all the study sites.
Grateful appreciation is extended to the late Dr. H. Asadi, Mr. H. Ziaie and Dr. B.H. Kiabi for
invaluable information provided during separate consultations. Finally, thanks are due to Gh.
Sanei, Behshahr Kar Company for providing generous financial assistance to the research
study and to Dr. Jan Janecka and Dr. Igor Khorozyan for their valuable comments on the
manuscript.
LITERATURE CITED
Bailey, T.N. 1993. The African Leopard: Ecology and Behavior of a Solitary Felid. Columbia
University Press, New York, USA, 429 p.
There is no specic study on possible leopard seasonal migrations in the
country following the movements of preys due to seasonal changes in vegetation
sufciency in each habitat. However, evidences of leopard seasonal migrations were
found in Marakan in Western Azerbaijan Province and Mirza Arab Mountain in the
boundary of Iran and Afghanistan. Further studies are required to investigate the
movement behavior of leopards in these areas. We suggest that it is essential to
design and conduct a national leopard conservation plan particularly as an umbrella
species in its currently identied distribution range as reported by Sanei (2005,
2007). However, high priorities should be given to the sites that were identied in
this study to have the most diverse prey communities, particularly those located in
the northern part of the country (i.e. Golestan, Jahan Nama, Parvar, Touran, Khosh
Yeilagh, Sorkheh Hesar, Kavir, Sarigol and Salook). It is worth mentioning that the
non-detection of a species in a habitat does not mean that the species is certainly
absent there (MacKenzie et al. 2002). In addition, presence of various prey species
in the study sites does not imply that existing prey biomass is sufcient to supply
a viable leopard population in each area. Consequently, further detailed studies are
required to investigate the abundance of the prey species and the carrying capacity
of each habitat in the leopard distribution range in the country.
Persian leopard prey availability
Asia Life Sciences Suppl. 7, 2011 29
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... Administrative division of provinces refers to the initiation of data collection activities in 2007. (Sanei 2007, Sanei et al. 2011Fig. 4). ...
... Study of protected areas with leopard presence (1)/absence (0) together with data on prey species shows that leopard occurrence in Iran's protected areas is strongly linked with wild goat densities and, to a lesser extent, with wild sheep densities. This is in agreement with findings of previous studies about co-occurrence of the leopard with wild goat followed by the wild sheep (Sanei et al. 2011). Wild boar is also one of the staple prey species for the Persian leopard. ...
... Administrative division of provinces refers to the initiation of data collection activities in 2007. (Sanei 2007, Sanei et al. 2011Fig. 4). ...
... Study of protected areas with leopard presence (1)/absence (0) together with data on prey species shows that leopard occurrence in Iran's protected areas is strongly linked with wild goat densities and, to a lesser extent, with wild sheep densities. This is in agreement with findings of previous studies about co-occurrence of the leopard with wild goat followed by the wild sheep (Sanei et al. 2011). Wild boar is also one of the staple prey species for the Persian leopard. ...
Article
Full-text available
We conducted a national survey to evaluate the recent status of the Persian leopard Panthera pardus saxicolor in Iran. Leopard presence records were investigated in 204 areas under the auspices of the Department of Environment DoE, i.e. in National Parks NPs, Wildlife Reserves WRs and Protected Areas PAs and elsewhere outside these areas within the leopard’s putative range from 2007 to 2011. Questionnaires were sent to DoE provincial and regional offices and we conducted interviews with hunters, local shepherds and villagers to investigate illegal killing and poisoning of leopards. Subsequently, records were classified into two reliability categories of confirmed C1 or probable presence C2. We plotted the most recent Persian leopard distribution map in Iran indicating the reliability of the records. Results show that leopard distribution is interrupted in a vast area covering about 6 provinces in the north-west of Iran, where formerly northern and southern leopard distributions were considerably connected. We therefore hypothesise that leopard distribution in Iran is splitting into a northern and a southern range, with the risk of fragmentation. Almost 70% of the leopard mortalities during the study period resulted from illegal killing and poisoning. While leopard occurrence is strongly related to wild goat Capra aegagrus densities, wild goat numbers are correlated with protection level, size and number of years under protection for each protected area. We recommend a number of research and conservation priorities such as field surveys to assess corridors connecting leopard main habitats particularly in the provinces located in the north-west of Iran to improve the current and planned conservation programmes. Further transboundary cooperation among the neighbouring countries is essential to improve the Persian leopard conservation in the region.
... Leopards are found in a wide range of habitat types from tropical, subtropical and humid forests, mountain, savannah and scrub through to deserts (Nowell and Jackson 1996;Sanei et al. 2011a;Stein and Hayssen 2013;Shehzad et al. 2014;Athreya et al. 2016). They feed on a broad range of prey species, such as ungulates, birds, rodents and reptiles (Sanei et al. 2011b;Mondal et al. 2012a;Shehzad et al. 2014;Kshettry et al. 2018). Leopards are wide-ranging carnivores. ...
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The leopard Panthera pardus is thought to be sparsely distributed across Pakistan and there is limited understanding of the demographic structure and distribution of the species in this country. We conducted a study, from April to July 2017, and, from March to June 2018, in the northern Pakistan region to establish the presence and distribution of leopards, mindful at the outset of their abundance in that region. The presence of leopards was confirmed in the Swat, Dir and Margalla Hills region. The leopard population in Gallies and Murree Forest Division was preliminarily assessed via camera-trapping. As a result, a total of 63 potential areas of leopard population were identified initially. The leopard was photo captured at 27 locations (hotspots) with 34 capture events yielding 195 images over the course of 3,022 active trap-nights. Camera trap images were examined to identify leopard individuals using their rosette patterns on both the left and right flanks and the dorsal side of the tail. Ultimately, 15 leopard individuals were identified during the first survey period of the study and four individuals were recaptured in the second survey period, together with three new individuals. The detection probability of individual leopards from MARK varied from 0.10 and 0.20 with a population size (preliminarily estimated to be 16–25 (SE = 3.18) in 2107 and 7–13 (SE = 1.87) in 2018. This gave a density of 4.5 to 9.5 leopards/100 km ² , respectively. A home range of various individual leopards was found to extend from the Gallies Reserved Forest to the extended corridors of Guzara Forest. In general, this study suggests that the Guzara Forest is crucially important for the conservation of leopards in the region as this area allows them extended movement while searching for food and mates.
... Similar is the diet for Persian leopards P. p. ciscaucasica which hunts animals larger as himself such as Goitered gazelle, chamois, bezoar goat, mouflons, urial, West/East-Caucasian tur, roe deer, and wild boar (cf. Farhadinia et al., 2009;Sanei et al., 2011). Within the European Ice Age, the Ice Age leopard prey specialization remains still unclear, but ibex/chamoix might have been a main target, too. ...
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European leopard sites in Europe demonstrate Early/Middle Pleistocene out of Africa lowland, and Late Pleistocene Asian alpine migrations being driven by climatic changes. Four different European Pleistocene subspecies are known. The final European Late Pleistocene "Ice Age leopard" Panthera pardus spelaea (Bächler, 1936) is validated taxonomically. The skull shows heavy signs of sexual dimorphism with closest cranial characters to the Caucasian Panthera pardus ciscaucasica (Persian leopard). Late Pleistocene leopards were distributed northernmost, up to S-England with the youngest stratigraphic records by skeletons and cave art in the MIS 2/3 (about 32,000-26,000 BP). The oldest leopard painting left by Late Palaeolithics (Aurignacians/Gravettians) in the Chauvet Cave (S-France) allows the reconstruction of the Ice Age leopard fur spot pattern being close to the snow or Caucasian leopards. The last Ice Age glacial leopard habitat was the mountain/alpine boreal forest (not mammoth steppe lowland), where those hunted even larger prey such as alpine game (Ibex, Chamois). Into some lairs, those imported their prey by short-term cave dwelling (e.g. Baumann's Cave, Harz Mountains, Germany). Only Eurasian Ice Age leopards specialized, similar as other Late Pleistocene large felids (steppe lions), on cave bear predation/scavenging partly very deep in caves. In Vjetrenica Cave (Dinarid Mountains, Bosnia Herzegovina), four adult leopards (two males/two females) of the MIS 3 were found about two km deep from the entrance in a cave bear den, near to one cave bear skeleton, that remained articulated in its nest. Leopards died there, partly being trapped by raising water levels of an active ponor stream, but seem to have been killed possibly either, similar as for lions known, in battles with cave bears in several cave bear den sites of Europe (e.g. Baumann's Cave, Wildkirchli Cave, Vjetrenica Cave). At other large cave sites, with overlap of hyena, wolf and dhole dens at the cave entrances, leopard bones with bite damages indicate their remains to have been imported and consumed by predators in alpine regions due to reduced prey availability. The best models for the competition/taphonomy of large predators - felids, hyenids, canids - within large cave bear dens of Europe is represented in combination of the Zoolithen Cave and Vjetrenica Cave taphonomy.
... In some areas, feral dogs are also targeted by leopards. Similar situations probably exist elsewhere in the region, as indicated by the presence of dog remains in leopard diet in Bhutan ( Wang and Macdonald, 2009 ), Nepal ( Bhattarai and Kindlmann, 2012 ), Iran ( Sanei et al., 2011 ), and Pakistan ( Dar et al., 2009 ). ...
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This chapter discusses the predation of wild carnivores on dogs, considering the range of recorded carnivore species responsible for killing dogs around the world. It examines the potential dog-killing species to search for records of killing or consuming dogs. There were also findings of recorded dog killings by non-carnivorous species.
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To ensure persistence of a viable population of the Persian leopard in its wide range across Iran wherein also supports trans-boundary movements of the leopards to adjacent areas, the Iranian Department of Environment together with the Asian Leopard Specialist Society embarked on preparation of a species specific conservation and management action plan. Therefore, relative need assessments, stakeholder analysis, and required studies were conducted since 2012. To address the actual status of the Persian leopard in Iran an appropriate participatory planning model has been developed and subsequently, planning activities were conducted during several workshops and sessions by involvement of a wide range of participants from all over the country. A total of 45 internal and external main categories of stakeholders were recognized which also include various governmental and non-governmental organizations. Relatively, questionnaire surveys have been sent out to 60 universities and 220 NGOs with relative field of activities to identify the potential capabilities for implementation of the operations. These five annual action plans cover main topics of awareness raising, training and empowerment; habitat, media, veterinary and disease, rehabilitation centers, trans-boundary habitats and international co-operation, genetic conservation, compensation and insurance program, Persian leopard national network; research, evaluation and monitoring, protection units and wildlife wardens together with relative laws and regulations. This chapter briefly introduces this national document which was officially endorsed in early 2016 for implementation.
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Similar to the other big cats of Iran (i.e., the Asiatic lion Panthera leo persica and the Caspian tiger Panthera tigris virgata that are extinct in the region), the Persian leopard Panthera pardus saxicolor has a unique importance in the Iranian art, history, and literature. Symbolization of these species over centuries to emphasize on strength, intelligence, and bravery of the kings and national heroes indicates the significance of the big cats including the leopard, for the Iranian society. The Persian leopard has been also the center of attention for several local and nationwide researches in Iran since 2002. Seeing this introductory chapter of the book mainly consisted of an overview to the prior knowledge about the subspecies, the cultural importance, results of an assessment to determine the leopard conservation requirements in various regions of Iran as well as problem trees addressing habitat-related issues (e.g., habitat destruction and degradation) and high leopard mortality rate.
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The success and completion of this 6-year University of Florida-Malaysia Tiger Project are due to support from many individuals and organizations. Foremost, I would like to thank my major professor, Dr. Mel Sunquist, and his partner, Fiona Sunquist, for their tireless guidance and encouragement. His generosity and courage to take on foreign students who always require more attentions and logistics deserve honor. Had it not been for the serendipity to have become acquainted with Fiona, none of this would have been realized. Fiona’s trademark feel-good-talks often helped me lift sunken spirits. I would also like to thank my committee members, Dr. John Eisenberg, Dr. Mike Moulton, Dr. Jim Nichols, and Dr. Scot Smith, for critiques and comments on the dissertation. Dr Nichols trained me on the science of population estimation. His patience with me was much appreciated. Although not as an official committee member, advice and support provided by Dr. Ullas Karanth of the Wildlife Conservation Society-India were vital to the project. My intellectual phenology,has been shaped by the works of Dr. Eisenberg and Dr. Larry Harris, under whom I was fortunate to learn during their last years at the University of Florida. My spirit for the carnivore conservation was fueled by the works and characters of Drs. Mel Sunquist, Ullas Karanth, Howard Quigley, Maurice Hornocker, Alan Rabinowitz, and Dale Miquelle, who have provided me with training and opportunities at some point in my life. Lastly in the Department, the additional work by Cynthia Sain, Caprice McRay, and Monica Lindberg was important for me to maintain UF student status during my absence. Financial support for the project was provided by the Save the Tiger Fund, a special project of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation created in partnership with ExxonMobil Corporation, University of Florida, Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund, World Wide Fund for iii Nature (WWF)-Japan, WWF-UK, WWF-Netherlands,and 21,Century Tiger- a partnership between Global Tiger Patrol and London Zoo. Other support from WWF-Malaysia, Wildlife
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Nondetection of a species at a site does not imply that the species is absent unless the probability of detection is 1. We propose a model and likelihood-based method for estimating site occupancy rates when detection probabilities are 1. The model provides a flexible framework enabling covariate information to be included and allowing for missing observations. Via computer simulation, we found that the model provides good estimates of the occupancy rates, generally unbiased for moderate detection probabilities (0.3). We estimated site occupancy rates for two anuran species at 32 wetland sites in Maryland, USA, from data collected during 2000 as part of an amphibian monitoring program, Frog-watch USA. Site occupancy rates were estimated as 0.49 for American toads (Bufo amer-icanus), a 44% increase over the proportion of sites at which they were actually observed, and as 0.85 for spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer), slightly above the observed proportion of 0.83.
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Behavioural factors that are likely to contribute to the coexistence of tiger Panthera tigris, leopard P. pardus and dhole Cuon alpinus, were investigated in the tropical forests of Nagarahole, southern India, during 1986-1992. Examination of predator scats and kills were combined with radiotracking of four tigers, three leopards, and visual observations of a pack of dhole. The three predators selectively killed different prey types in terms of species, size and age-sex classes, facilitating their coexistence through ecological separation. There was no temporal separation of predatory activities between tigers and leopards. Hunting activities of dholes were temporally separated from those of the two felids to some extent. Rate of movement per unit time was higher for leopards compared to tigers during day and night. In general, the activity patterns of predators appeared to be largely related to the activities of their principal prey, rather than to mutual avoidance. The three predator species used the same areas and hunted in similar habitats, although tigers attacked their prey in slightly denser cover than leopards. Both cats attacked their prey close to habitat features that attracted ungulates. There was no evidence for interspecific spatial exclusion among predators, resulting either from habitat specificity or social dominance behaviours. Our results suggest that ecological factors, such as adequate availability of appropriate-sized prey, dense cover and high tree densities may be the primary factors in structuring the predator communities of tropical forests. Behavioural factors such as differential habitat selection or inter-specific social dominance, which are of crucial importance in savanna habitats, might play a relatively minor role in shaping the predator communities of tropical forests.
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1. Ecological factors influencing prey selection by tiger Panthera tigris, leopard Panthera pardus and dhole Cuon alpinus were investigated in an intact assemblage of large mammals in the tropical forests of Nagarahole, southern India, between 1986 and 1990. 2. Densities of large herbivores were estimated using line transects, and population structures from area counts. Carnivore diets were determined from analyses of scats (faeces) and kills. Selectivity for prey species was inferred from likelihood ratio tests comparing observed counts of scats to hypothesized scat frequencies generated from prey density estimates using parametric bootstrap simulations. Predator selectivity for size, age, sex and physical condition of prey was estimated using selection indices. 3. Ungulate and primate prey attained a density of 91 animals km-2 and comprised 89-98% of the biomass killed. Predators showed significant (P
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Behavioural factors that are likely to contribute to the coexistence of tiger Panthera tigris, leopard P. pardus and dhole Cuon alpinus, were investigated in the tropical forests of Nagarahole, southern India, during 1986–1992. Examination of predator scats and kills were combined with radiotracking of four tigers, three leopards, and visual observations of a pack of dhole. The three predators selectively killed different prey types in terms of species, size and age-sex classes, facilitating their coexistence through ecological separation. There was no temporal separation of predatory activities between tigers and leopards. Hunting activities of dholes were temporally separated from those of the two felids to some extent. Rate of movement per unit time was higher for leopards compared to tigers during day and night. In general, the activity patterns of predators appeared to be largely related to the activities of their principal prey, rather than to mutual avoidance. The three predator species used the same areas and hunted in similar habitats, although tigers attacked their prey in slightly denser cover than leopards. Both cats attacked their prey close to habitat features that attracted ungulates. There was no evidence for inter-specific spatial exclusion among predators, resulting either from habitat specificity or social dominance behaviours. Our results suggest that ecological factors, such as adequate availability of appropriate-sized prey, dense cover and high tree densities may be the primary factors in structuring the predator communities of tropical forests. Behavioural factors such as differential habitat selection or inter-specific social dominance, which are of crucial importance in savanna habitats, might play a relatively minor role in shaping the predator communities of tropical forests.
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