Article

Endangered leopards: Range collapse of the Indochinese leopard (Panthera pardus delacouri) in Southeast Asia

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Abstract

The Indochinese leopard (Panthera pardus delacouri) is a genetically distinct subspecies that historically occurred throughout mainland Southeast Asia, but might have experienced recent declines in numbers and distribution. This study aimed to determine the current distribution of the Indochinese leopard, and estimate its population size, by reviewing data from camera trap and other wildlife surveys conducted during the past 20 years. Our results showed the Indochinese leopard likely now occurs only in 6.2% of its historical range, with only 2.4% of its distribution in areas of confirmed leopard presence. The leopard is extirpated in Singapore, likely extirpated in Laos and Vietnam, nearly extirpated in Cambodia and China, and has greatly reduced distributions in Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand. There are plausibly only two major strongholds remaining, which we consider priority sites: Peninsular Malaysia, and the Northern Tenasserim Forest Complex. We also identified a small isolated population in eastern Cambodia as a third priority site, because of its uniqueness and high conservation value. We estimate a total remaining population of 973–2503 individuals, with only 409–1051 breeding adults. Increased poaching for the illegal wildlife trade likely is the main factor causing the decline of the Indochinese leopard. Other potential contributing factors include prey declines, habitat destruction, and possibly disease. We recommend a separate IUCN assessment for the Indochinese leopard, and that this subspecies be classified as Endangered. Our findings provide important information that can help guide where conservation actions would be most effective in preventing the extinction of this subspecies.

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... Apart from four journals that covered more than two records, almost all articles were only published one time in one journal. In particular, Biological Conservation (Davis et al. 2019;Rostro-Garcia et al. 2016;Xing et al. 2019) and Global Ecology and Conservation (Davis et al. 2020;Gomez and Shepherd 2018;Shepherd et al. 2020) were recorded as the most common journals with three times. PLoS ONE (Hansen et al. 2012;Williams et al. 2017) and Conservation Letters (Drury 2009;Olmedo et al. 2018) presented two articles each. ...
... Depending on the timeline, while the highest source is 70 times (Newton et al. 2008), the lowest rate is one time (Kline et al. 2020;Nguyen and Roberts 2020). Some publications have a similar time rate, such as 3 times (Le et al. 2018;Sharma et al. 2020;Smith 2018), 4 times Shepherd et al. 2020), and 34 times (Olmedo et al. 2018;Rostro-Garcia et al. 2016). Ironically, only a Vietnamese group scholar (Nguyen et al. 2019) on the AgBioForum-the Journal of Agrobiotechnology Management and Economics, analyzed the IWT in Vietnam with its causes and solutions has not yet been cited in any peer-reviewed articles after five years. ...
... The rest of the papers also used gray literature, including local authorities' information, annual reports, and non-government statistics. They published documents to warn about the emerging threats to small carnivores (Willcox 2020) and the declining populations of the Indochinese leopard (Rostro-Garcia et al. 2016), as well as to detail the nature and extent of WT/IWT in Vietnam (Ngoc and Wyatt 2013). ...
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As one of the earliest countries in the Southeast Asia region, Vietnam joined the CITES in 1994. However, they have faced several challenges and practical barriers to preventing and combating illegal wildlife trade (IWT) after 35 years. This first study systematically reviews 29 English journal articles between 1994 and 2020 to examine and assess the main trends and patterns of the IWT’s concerns in Vietnam. Findings show (1) slow progress of empirical studies, (2) unbalanced authorship between Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese conducting their projects, (3) weighting of wildlife demand consumptions in Vietnamese communities rather than investigating supply networks with high-profile traffickers, (4) lacking research in green and conservation criminology to assess the inside of the IWT, and (5) need to focus on potential harms of zoonotic transmission between a wild animal and human beings. The article also provides current limitations before proposing further research to fill these future gaps.
... In Asia, leopard subspecies currently occur in less than 16% of their historic range, with the only relatively large populations (≥ 400-500 individuals) occurring in India and Iran (Jacobson et al. 85 2016;Stein et al. 2016). Persistence of many small populations of leopards is dependent on sourcesink dynamics across international borders (Khorozyan et al., 2014;Farhadinia et al., 2015;Rostro-García et al., 2016;Feng et al., 2017;Maharramova et al., 2018;Askerov et al., 2019). ...
... The Indochinese leopard now likely occurs in only 2-6% of its historical distribution in Southeast Asia, and the remaining populations are small and isolated (Rostro-García et al., 2019). This subspecies has been extirpated in Singapore, likely extirpated in Laos and Vietnam, nearly extirpated in Cambodia and has a greatly reduced distribution in China, Thailand, Myanmar, and 135 Peninsular Malaysia (Rostro-García et al., 2016). Of the remaining extant and possibly extant distribution, 58% is within borderlands (Table 1). ...
... Previous studies have highlighted poaching of leopards and their prey, as well as habitat loss, as the main reasons for the population decline of leopards across most of their range in Asia (Farhadinia et al., 2015;Jacobson et al., 2016;Rostro-García et al., 2016;Wang et al., 2016;Zafar-ul Islam et al., 185 2018). Here, we have identified four main challenges specifically targeting transboundary populations of Asian leopards: 1) different levels of legal protection and management across national jurisdictions, 2) military activities and armed conflict, 3) poaching for illegal international wildlife trade, and 4) infrastructure projects, such as road development. ...
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Large carnivores have extensive spatial requirements, which often result in ranges that span geopolitical borders. Consequently, management of transboundary populations is subject to different political jurisdictions, often with high heterogeneity in conservation challenges. In continental Asia, there are four endangered leopard subspecies with transboundary populations spanning 23 countries: the Persian, Indochinese, Arabian, and Amur leopards. We reviewed the status of these subspecies and examined their conservation challenges and opportunities. Amur and Indochinese leopards had the majority (58-100%) of their remaining range in borderlands, whereas Persian and Arabian leopards had a quarter (23-26%) of their remaining ranges in borderlands. Overall, in 18 of 23 countries the majority of the remaining leopard range was in borderlands, thus in most countries their conservation is dependent on transboundary collaborations. However, we found only two transboundary initiatives for Asian leopards. Overall, we highlighted three key transboundary landscapes in regions which are of high importance for the survival of these subspecies. Recent listing of leopard in the Bonn Convention is an encouraging step forward, but more international collaboration is needed to save these subspecies. Our paper provides a spatial framework on which range countries and international agencies can establish transboundary cooperation for conserving endangered leopards in Asia.
... In the first five years of the 2010s, there were only four articles, apart from Drury's studies (Cao & Wyatt, 2013;Hansen et al., 2012;MacMillan & Nguyen, 2014;Martin et al., 2013); meanwhile, the rest of publications of non-Vietnamese have increased remarkably in the last five years. Accordingly, they include two articles in 2016 (Rostro-Garcia et al., 2016;Truong et al., 2016), one in 2017 (Williams et al., 2017), and five in 2018 (Dang & Neilsen, 2018;Gomez & Shepherd, 2018;Le et al., 2018;Olmedo et al., 2018;Smith, 2018), two in 2019 (Davis et al., 2019;Xing et al., 2019), and nine in 2020 Davis et al., 2020;Kline et al., 2020;Lemaitre & Herve-Fournereau, 2020;Nguyen & Roberts, 2020;Omifolaji et al., 2020;Sharma et al., 2020;Shepherd et al., 2020;Willcox, 2020). ...
... Depending on the timeline, while the highest source is 70 times (Newton et al., 2008), the lowest rate is one time (Kline et al., 2020;Nguyen & Roberts, 2020 Shepherd et al., 2020), and 34 times (Olmedo et al., 2018;Rostro-Garcia et al., 2016). ...
... Additionally, the rest of the papers used grey literature. They published documents to warn about the emerging threats to small carnivores (Willcox, 2020) and the declined populations of the Indochinese leopard (Rostro-Garcia et al., 2016), as well as to detail the nature and extent of WT/IWT in Vietnam (Cao & Wyatt, 2013). ...
... China: Leopard now occurs in less than 1% of southeastern China, with an estimated extant range of 2,483 km², as reported by Rostro-García et al. (2016). A recent review found the Indochinese Leopard was detected by camera traps only in two nature reserves, Nangunhe and Xishuangbanna (2008), both in southwestern Yunnan Province (Laguardia et al. 2017). ...
... Laguardia et al. (2017) concluded that each locality contains only a few individuals (fewer than 10 individuals apiece) and populations are unlikely to recover because of low prey numbers, and high levels of habitat loss and poaching in the region. Thus, the Indochinese Leopard probably is on the verge of extirpation in the country (Rostro-García et al. 2016). ...
... Lao PDR: There are unlikely to be any viable Leopard populations remaining in Lao PDR, and the Leopard is now likely to be functionally extinct in, if not fully extirpated from, the country (Rostro-García et al. 2016). Leopard was last photographed in 2004 in the Nam Et -Phou Louey (NEPL) National Protected Area, the largest and arguably best protected area in the country (Johnson et al. 2006), despite extensive camera-trapping and DNA testing of more than 500 scats since that time (WCS Lao PDR and Panthera, unpubl. ...
... Here we focus on a population of Indochinese leopard (Panthera pardus delacouri), which is found in Southeast Asia and southern China. Rostro-García et al. (2016) report that this subspecies now occurs in only 6.2% of its historical range in Southeast Asia, and that only seven viable populations remain: three in Myanmar, one in Cambodia, one in Malaysia and two in Thailand. ...
... Given the newly recognized concern regarding status of the leopard in Southeast Asia, knowledge of its behavioral interactions with its major prey, and with tigers, is critical for efforts to conserve this species. An earlier study on the ecology of leopards in Southeast Asia (Simcharoen et al., 2018) was conducted in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary (HKK), Thailand, which supports the largest populations of leopards and tigers in the region (Kenney et al., 2014;Rostro-García et al., 2016). Recent studies of leopard and tiger diets report a high degree of dietary overlap at several sites in South Asia (Lovari, 2015;Selvan et al., 2013) and also at our study site in HKK (Simcharoen et al., 2018). ...
... Given that both leopards and tigers are threatened across Southeast Asia and that their largest populations occur in WEFCOM, research at HKK contributes to the understanding of interspecies dynamics between these two large felids. There is no clear evidence of tigers reducing the density of leopards or altering activities in HKK, but in response to widespread interference competition by tigers toward leopards elsewhere, and the increasing decline of leopards in Southeast Asia (Rostro-García et al., 2016), managers need a conservation strategy that encompasses threats to both species. Unfortunately, rigorous field studies on the behavioral dynamics of carnivores and their prey are exceedingly difficult (Garrott et al., 2007) and the difficulty is compounded where two large predators with overlapping diets occur. ...
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Despite their extensive distribution globally, recent reports indicate leopards are declining, especially in Southeast Asia. To support conservation efforts we analyzed the behavioral interactions between leopards ( Panthera pardus ), their prey, and tigers to determine if leopards fine-tune their activity to maximize contact with four prey species (sambar; wild boar; barking deer; banteng) and avoid tigers and if prey alter their temporal activity in response to variation in their relative abundance ratio with leopards. A lower density of sambar in the northern part of our study area and a lower density of wild boar and a higher density of tigers in the southern part allowed us to examine fine-grained differences in the behavior of leopards and their prey. We used camera trap data to investigate spatial and temporal overlap. Differences in tiger relative abundance did not appear to impact the temporal activity of leopards. Leopards had similar cathemeral activity at all sites with highest activity at dawn and dusk. This behavior appears to be a compromise to provide access to diurnal wild boar and barking deer and nocturnal sambar and banteng. Sambar showed higher temporal avoidance of leopards in the north where its RAI was lowest; in contrast, wild boar had the highest temporal avoidance in the south where its density was lowest. This is the first study in Southeast Asia to quantify spatial and temporal interactions between the leopard, its primary ungulate prey, and the tiger. It provides new insights for conserving this declining subspecies.
... In fact, NEPL was thought to harbour the last breeding population of tigers in Indochina (Johnson et al., 2016), and was identified as one of the most important source sites for tiger conservation in Southeast Asia (Walston et al., 2010). Additionally, based on 2000s surveys, it was hoped that NEPL would retain a leopard population, which have dramatically declined throughout all of Southeast Asia (Rostro-García et al., 2016). Management and enforcement policies in NEPL during the past 10 years have focused on conserving the tiger, but it is unclear whether these interventions have succeeded in conserving these globally important populations of tigers, leopards, and dholes. ...
... While we have no counter-factual to judge how much worse things might have been, our results make sadly apparent that the last decade of management interventions has fallen short of the goal of conserving of the top carnivores: conspicuously, tiger and leopard have been extirpated, and only the dhole persists as the last remaining apex carnivore in the landscape. The last photograph of a leopard from NEPL was at the end of 2004 (Rostro-García et al., 2016), shortly before the initiation of management interventions at the beginning of 2005 (Johnson et al., 2016); thus our extensive camera-trap surveys confirm that the leopard is extirpated from NEPL and that the new management interventions were not able to save the last leopards in the landscape. It appears we recorded the very last tigers, two individuals that had previously been photographed in 2012 (Johnson et al., 2016) e it is a chilling realisation that our records in 2013 were the last. ...
... Indiscriminate snaring has been increasing throughout SE Asia during recent years, which is causing a major crisis for biodiversity in the region (Gray et al., 2017b). For example, this was likely to have been the main reason for the recent range collapse of leopard throughout Southeast Asia (Rostro-García et al., 2016). The increase in snaring in NEPL was likely to affect large felids such as tiger more than other species, as also found in Sumatra (Risdianto et al., 2016), because large felids are solitary and have naturally low densities. ...
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The Nam Et - Phou Louey National Protected Area (NEPL) is known for its diverse community of carnivores, and a decade ago was identified as an important source site for tiger conservation in Southeast Asia. However, there are reasons for concern that the status of this high priority diverse community has deteriorated, making the need for updated information urgent. This study assesses the current diversity of mammals and birds in NEPL, based on camera trap surveys from 2013 to 2017, facilitating an assessment of protected area management to date. We implemented a dynamic multispecies occupancy model fit in a Bayesian framework to reveal community and species occupancy and diversity. We detected 43 different mammal and bird species, but failed to detect leopard Panthera pardus and only detected two individual tigers Panthera tigris, both in 2013, suggesting that both large felids are now extirpated from NEPL, and presumably also more widely throughout Lao PDR. Mainland clouded leopard Neofelis nebulosa had the highest estimates of probability of initial occupancy, persistence and colonization, and appeared to be the most widely distributed large carnivore, followed by dhole Cuon alpinus. Both of these species emerge as a priority for further monitoring and conservation in the NEPL landscape. This study provides the most recent assessment of animal diversity and status in the NEPL. Our analytical approach provides a robust and flexible framework to include sparse and inconsistent data sets of multiple species to assess their status via occupancy as a state process, which can often provide insights into population dynamics. Keywords: Clouded leopard, Dhole, Dynamic multispecies occupancy model, Laos, Nam Et - Phou Louey National Protected Area, Tiger
... Habitat loss and fragmentation are major threats to wildlife in Southeast Asia (Duckworth et al. 2012;Gritten et al. 2019), and large carnivore species are now in decline throughout much of the region (O'Kelly et al. 2012;Rostro-García et al. 2016;Rasphone et al. 2019). Deforestation rates, particularly in the lowlands, are higher than other areas in the tropics (Sodhi et al. 2010;Stibig et al. 2014;Bhagwat et al. 2017), principally due to forest conversion for large-scale oil palm and rubber plantations (Stibig et al. 2014;Hughes 2017;Curtis et al. 2018). ...
... Tigers (Panthera tigris), leopards (P. pardus), and clouded leopards (Neofelis nebulosa) are three large felids particularly sensitive to habitat loss and fragmentation and have been extirpated from most of Southeast Asia (Lynam 2010;D'Cruze and Macdonald 2015;Rostro-García et al. 2016;Rasphone et al. 2019). Much of their remaining habitat in Southeast Asia lies within the Dawna-Tanintharyi Landscape (DTL; also known as the Tawnaw-Ternawtherri Landscape to the Karen ethnic group), a transboundary ecoregion on the border of Thailand and Kawthoolei (defined by the administrative and geographical distribution of the Karen people and the Karen National Union (KNU) and encompassing Karen State, Mon State, Bago Region, and Tanintharyi Region in Myanmar) that harbors extensive forest cover, a protected area network, and large felid breeding populations (Bassi et al. 2016;WWF 2018). ...
... Indochinese leopards (P. p. delacouri) only occur in 6% of their historical range, but they, along with clouded leopards, still reside in scattered protected areas in western Thailand, including WEFCOM (Ngoprasert et al. 2012;Rostro-García et al. 2016). These felid species also have been confirmed from wildlife sanctuaries and unprotected areas in Karen State and Tanintharyi Region, Kawthoolei, though their population status here is unknown (Rostro-García et al. 2016;Moo et al. 2017;WWF 2018). ...
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ContextMaintaining landscape connectivity for large felids by preserving and restoring corridors between core habitats is crucial to their long-term conservation. Tiger, leopard, and clouded leopard populations occur in isolated habitat patches across the Dawna-Tanintharyi Landscape (DTL) of Kawthoolei (all Karen National Union administrative areas in Myanmar) and Thailand.Objectives We analyzed connectivity among 18 habitat patches in this transboundary region based on large felid presence and expert opinion of large felid dispersal requirements.Methods Least-cost corridor and circuit theory analyses were used to identify corridors, determine corridor quality and their relative importance to connectivity in the landscape, and pinpoint bottlenecks to movement.ResultsForty-eight corridors were identified. Lower resistances to dispersal were in forested montane areas. High-quality corridors remained in the northern DTL and south of Tanintharyi Nature Reserve in Kawthoolei based on cost-weighted distance to least-cost path ratio. Pairwise current pinch point analyses revealed a possible landscape level bottleneck to movement north of Thailand’s Western Forest Complex. Area corrected centrality scores indicated smaller habitat patches disproportionately contributed to landscape connectivity.Conclusions The DTL may retain connectivity across the landscape if conservation actions are taken to protect integral habitats and corridors. Conservation efforts that expand the protected area network in Kawthoolei, either by increasing the size of current protected area habitats or by demarcating new protected areas in regions with confirmed felid presence, will aid DTL connectivity. The DTL should be managed to preserve connectivity on both sides of the border, entailing international governmental, indigenous community, and non-governmental collaboration.
... However, the leopard's range has collapsed considerably, now occupying only 25e37% of its historic range (Jacobson et al., 2016). The primary drivers of decline are habitat loss and fragmentation, depletion of natural prey, and direct persecution due to conflict with people, poaching, and indiscriminate killings (Athreya et al., 2011;Swanepoel et al., 2014;Rostro-García et al., 2016;Paudel et al., 2020). According to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the leopard has been identified as one of the major traded carnivores of the Asian big cats and recently, global leopard status was re-assessed and changed from Near Threatened to Vulnerable in 2016 . ...
... Road networks can fragment large areas of continuous habitat into smaller patches (Saunders et al., 2002;Mutter et al., 2015). For carnivores in general, population densities are often low while home range sizes and dispersal distances are large (Duangchantrasiri et al., 2016;Rostro-García et al., 2016), thus carnivore persistence can be strongly influenced by the isolating effects of such linear infrastructures. Roads also can have a major effect on large-carnivore mortality directly via vehicle collisions, and through increased hunting and poaching access, and indirectly by providing greater prey hunting access to people that can result in reduced prey availability for carnivores (Kerley et al., 2002). ...
... Leopard signs were discerned from tiger signs based on their morphological characteristics such as much smaller sizes of pugmarks: front foot width (~average 8e9 cm for leopard, 12.5e14.2 cm for tiger); pad size width (<6.5 cm for leopard, 8.8e10 cm for tiger), adult stride length (~average of 90 cm in leopard, > 100 cm in tiger), scrapes (<25 cm long and <15 cm wide for leopard, > 35 cm long and >19 cm wide for tiger), and scats (2e4 cm for leopard, > 11 cm in diameter at widest part of the scat for tiger) (McDougal, 1999;Singh et al., 2014;Rostro-García et al., 2016;Simcharoen et al., 2018;Lamichhane et al., 2019). Tiger scat usually is less coiled than leopard scat with a relatively long distance between successive constrictions within a single piece of scat (Wang and Macdonald, 2009). ...
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Better conservation planning requires updated information about leopard distribution to prioritize and allocate limited resources available. The long-term persistence of leopards and sympatric tigers can be compromised by linear infrastructure development such as roads that fragment habitat. We used detection and non-detection data collected along walking search paths (∼4,140 km) in 96 grid cells (each cell 15 km by 15 km) spread across potential habitat (∼13,845 km²) in the Terai Arc Landscape, Nepal. Multi-season occupancy models allowed us to make both spatial and temporal inferences between two surveys in 2009 and 2013, based on ecologically relevant covariates recorded in the field or remotely sensed. Additionally, we used 2013 data to make inferences on co-occurrence between tigers and leopards at the landscape level. We found the additive model containing deforestation and district roads negatively influenced leopard detection across the landscape. Although weak, we found anthropogenic factors such as extent of deforestation (decrease in forest cover) negatively affected leopard occupancy. Road abundance, especially for the east-west highway and district roads, also negatively (but weakly) influenced leopard occupancy. We found substantially lower occupancy in the year 2013 (0.59 (SE 0.06) than in 2009 (0.86 (SE 0.04)). Tigers and leopards co-occurred across the landscape based on the species interaction factor (SIF) estimated at 1.47 (0.13) but the amount of available habitat and the prey index mediated co-occurrence. The SIF decreased as habitat availability increased, reaching independence at large habitat patches, but leopard occupancy declined in sites with tigers, primarily in large patches. The prey index was substantially lower outside of protected areas and leopards and tigers co-occurred more strongly in small patches and at low prey indices, indicating potential attraction to the same areas when prey is scarce. Mitigation measures should focus on preventing loss of critical leopard, tiger, and prey habitat through appropriate wildlife-friendly underpasses and avoiding such habitat when building infrastructure. Leopard conservation has received lower priority than tigers, but our metrics show a large decline in leopard occupancy, thus conservation planning to reverse this decline should focus on measures to facilitate human-leopard coexistence to ensure leopard persistence across the landscape.
... pardus. delacouri; [57] , from Near Threatened to Critically Endangered and Endangered correspondingly. The remaining two leopard subspecies, African Panthera. ...
... pardus. fusca, are together Near Threatened [55,57] . Understanding on leopard distribution is enlightening while comprehensive population estimates and ecology of fears are still missing [58] . ...
Thesis
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The nocturnal activities of animals are influenced by the brightness of the moon in different moon phases. Further, behaviour of prey animals, and also density, may fluctuate in response to predators through both lethal effects and non-lethal (fear) effects. As we understand, wildlife may experience fear from a range of predators, including large carnivores, mesopredators, domestic dogs and humans, the latter being regarded as a super predator. In such landscapes with the occurrence of predators, the prey is likely to be more alert in order to lower the danger of being killed. Further, flight response is an appropriate, recognised and measurable indicator (as flight initiation distance, FID) of fear effects in terrestrial animals. In this research, our specific aims were: 1) to investigate the effects of moonlight on activity patterns and the interactions between a large carnivore (North China leopard Panthera pardus japonensis) and their prey; 2) to analyse the den-site selection by the mesopredator, red fox (Vulpes vulpes montana) at multiple scales in a patchy human-dominated landscape; 3) to describe the habitat factors and predator density effects on the spatial abundance of cape hare (Lepus capensis) distribution; 4) to explore the increased FID in golden marmots (Marmota caudata aurea) in response to domestic dogs, and; 5) to understand how the occurrence of conspecifics in the neighboring space may influence FID in cape hare under the effect of human disturbance. These collective works contributed to the understanding of fear ecology and their implications for predator-prey interactions in China and Pakistan. We used camera-traps to investigate the first aim; for the remaining four objectives, we laid out transect lines in different habitats to explore how the fear effects stimulated by humans and predators influence other mammals. A total of 102 camera locations operated between March 2017-May 2019 and circadian activities of each species was analyzed by using temporalniche overlap model, as well as Generalized Linear Mixed Effects Model (GLMM) to link habitat structures with leopards and prey species. We derived Resource Selection Functions (RSFs) to predict the potential distribution of red fox dens at three spatial scales. We used the standard line transect distance sampling method to calculate the seasonal density of hare and comparative density of red fox. A traditional live-trapping protocol was used to capture a sample of golden marmots at the four colonies. Lastly, we used human stimuli at the start of each sampling period for the cape hare investigation to link with disturbances and flight response. The main results of this study are the following: (1) North China leopard exhibited an irregular activity pattern, wild boar (Sus scrofa) indicated lunar phobic behaviour and avoided leopard, and roe deer (Capreolus pygargus) were lunar philic. Tolai hare (Lepus tolai) showed lunar phobic behavior. The nocturnal activities of leopards, roe deer and tolai hare were positively related. The occurrence of leopard day vs. night activity during four different lunar phases were exhibited a preference with distance to deciduous forest and secondary roads, while avoided to lower elevations. Roe deer showed a preference to secondary roads. Wild boar displayed avoidance of intermediate elevation. Tolai hare indicated preference to grassland. Further, cloud cover, moonlight risk index (MRI), humans and season had diverse effects on leopard and prey interactions. (2) We found that for red fox den occurrence, elevation was the most significant covariate at landscapes scale, and distance to forest had negative effect; at patch scale, distance to forests were negatively correlated with number of dens and positively linked to shrubs. Furthermore, at microhabitat scale, den occurrence was negatively linked with hiding cover and positively associated with tree density and anthropogenic features – den occurrence was negatively related with distance to roads and positively correlated with Indian pika (Ochotona roylei)burrow existence. We found that den entrance dimensions were larger for natal dens than resting dens. (3) We identified that, the population density of hare was highest in bare areas and the lowest in mixed plantations. In summer, we found a positive correlation between hare and red fox density in a bare area, and in winter, in shrubs land. The relative density of red fox was lowest in subalpine habitat. We found that hare pellet indices were positively connected with indices of herbs in plantation forest, shrubs in mixed forest, trees in two selected habitat sites, and negatively linked to cultivated land, roads, and rivers in mixed and streams in bare areas. (4) We measured FID in 72 Golden marmots from four colonies in the Karakoram Range, Pakistan. We found that the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) caused greater FID than pedestrian alone, and adult marmots nearer to roads showed greater FID. However, marmot age and colony substrate had more marked influences on FID, which was also greater at lower elevations where there were clusters of human settlements and livestock pastures. (5) Our results showed that foraging hares have smaller FIDs than vigilant ones. Social animals reduced FID of the focal hare due to a mutual vigilance, while a solitary animal had greater FID due to less cooperative defense for predator detection. This research has demonstrated that fear effects exist in human-dominated landscapes, and that environmental factors can drive temporal activities of predator-prey interactions which are linked with lunar phase. It also showed that human disturbances, such as domestic dogs, influenced the core activity zones of burrowing herbivores. The studies also show the scale of fear and provide a superior chance to recognize the biological significance of fear ecology and its application for future wildlife conservation in human-dominated landscapes.
... org: accessed on the 2 nd of February 2017, Jacobson et al. 2016). In South East Asia, especially in Thailand, the common leopard is rated as endangered because of high rates of deforestation and poaching for the wildlife trade (Jacobson et al. 2016, Rostro-Garcìa et al. 2016). The main prey species of the common leopard range between 2 and 50 kg of body mass: over 150 species of wild mammals and birds have been reported in its diet throughout Africa (Hayward et al. 2006) and Asia (Lovari et al. 2013a). ...
... Eight years later, Rabinowitz (1993) reported the presence of the tiger, but no sign of this species (e.g. its diagnostic scrapes and pugmarks) was detected during our field work. The largest carnivore in our study area was the Indochinese leopard, a subspecies at risk of extinction (Rostro-Garcìa et al. 2016). No information was available on the density of prey species and on their seasonal availability for predators. ...
... Peninsular Malaysia in particular is one of the strongholds for the survival of Asia's elephants (Elephas maximus), tigers (Panthera tigris) and leopards (Panthera pardus; e.g. Rostro-Garciá et al. 2016). Perhaps due to this abundant natural heritage, Malaysians are sometimes not fully appreciative of the value of conservation and face accusations of not caring enough for wildlife (Nagulendran et al. 2016). ...
... In Malaya, as elsewhere in the British Empire and in the United States, hunters were largely sympathetic to the protection of wildlife (MacKenzie, 1988;Reiger, 1975). They were the first to witness its disappearance. ...
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Peninsular Malaysia is rich in wildlife including elephants and tigers but local attitudes towards conserving these species varies. With the aim of understanding the factors affecting these attitudes we analysed the data of the 1932 report of the Wild Life Commission of Malaya and compare them with the findings of a 2016 survey carried out in the city of Kuala Lumpur and the town of Taiping, Perak. We identify the limitations of using the full dataset of the Commission and instead focused on the 722 Asian respondents, stratified according to social status, looking at the attitudes of the Asian colonial elite, the kampong elite and farmers; as well as looking at the attitudes of individuals that had engaged in hunting. We compared these results with 525 respondents from the 2016 urban survey and found that the profile of the recent responses is comparable to that of the colonial elite-both being favourable to conservation. We suggest that the dramatic urbanisation and increase in literacy experienced by the peninsula since the 1930s has also seen an overall shift in favour of conservation and we recommend several steps to ensure that the costs of wildlife conservation be shared more equitably. Introduction Malaysia is a biodiversity hotspot, rich in charismatic wildlife. Peninsular Malaysia in particular is one of the strongholds for the survival of Asia's elephants (Elephas maximus), tigers (Panthera tigris) and leopards (Panthera pardus; e.g. Rostro-Garciá et al. 2016). Perhaps due to this abundant natural heritage, Malaysians are sometimes not fully appreciative of the value of conservation and face accusations of not caring enough for wildlife (Nagulendran et al. 2016). Opinion surveys can reveal the actual extent to which Malaysian attitudes towards nature varies according to ethnicity, along the urban-rural divide and with income. However, such surveys seldom look at how public attitudes have changed over time. Here we take advantage of a historical dataset to examine people's attitudes towards wildlife in the 1930s. We then compare the results with recent datasets produced for similar purposes. Our aim is to understand the factors affecting local people's attitudes towards wildlife. Specifically, our objectives are to analyse the results of the report of the Wild Life Commission of Malaya (WLCM 1932), compare them with the findings of a recent survey, and identify any trends.
... Knowledge of a population's basic ecology and current population size is critical to assessing and managing extinction risk. Although there have been several density estimates for tigers within Southeast Asia (Duangchantrasiri et al., 2016;Johnson et al., 2006;Kawanishi and Sunquist, 2004;Linkie et al., 2008;Lynam, 2010;Steinmetz et al., 2013;Sunarto Kelly et al., 2013;Wibisono et al., 2009), recent data suggest that populations of tigers and other large carnivores have collapsed regionally (Rostro-García et al., 2016;Walston et al., 2010a). In general, Southeast Asia lacks recent information on the status of large carnivores but has seen the greatest range contractions (Wolf and Ripple, 2017). ...
Article
Large carnivores have been declining due to a combination of factors including habitat loss and fragmentation, prey loss, and direct persecution. Tiger Panthera tigris and dhole Cuon alpinus are endangered and emblematic of problems facing large carnivores globally. We estimated tiger density, dhole occupancy and prey availability within the Dong Phayayen - Khao Yai Forest Complex, a World Heritage Area in Thailand that has potential as a ‘recovery site’ for both species. Camera traps were set near bait stations designed for bear monitoring. A Bayesian spatial capture-recapture approach was used to estimate tiger density and occupancy of dhole and their prey. Camera traps were deployed in two areas, Khao Yai (78 locations, December 2009-May 2011) and Dong Phayayen (45 locations, December 2012-August 2014). Tiger was not detected in Khao Yai. We detected 9 tigers (2 male, 4 females, and 3 unknown sex) in Dong Phayayen. Tiger density was 2.1 (95% CI 0.5–5.3) individuals per 100 km ² based on an individual heterogeneity model. Dhole occupancy was higher in Khao Yai (64%) than Dong Phayayen (55%). Prey occupancy was 9–53% higher in Dong Phayayen. Wild pig Sus scrofa had the highest occupancy rates, followed by gaur Bos gaurus, sambar Rusa unicolor and muntjac Muntiacus muntjac, respectively. Although Dong Phayayen's tiger density was lower compared to populations estimated in some better-known protected areas, our data suggest it has potential as a regional tiger (and perhaps dhole) recovery site. However, Dong Phayayen, like many sites in the region, faces significant threats from wildlife hunting and rosewood (Dalbergia spp.) poaching that need to be addressed urgently if this small population is going to survive even the near term.
... Leopards population are in decline across large parts of their habitat range (Ripple et al., 2014), particularly in Southeast Asia (Rostro-García et al., 2016). They are secretive and shy, and thus are poorly studied (Ridout & Linkie, 2008), especially in forest habitats. ...
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In Southeast Asia, the population range of the Leopard (Panthera pardus) is rapidly shrinking. In Peninsular Malaysia, temporal activity patterns of leopards are poorly known in its largest protected area-Taman Negara National Park. Our study obtained 1,263 photos of leopards from 235 camera trap stations over 31,333 trap nights covering the Kelantan, Pahang, and Terengganu portions of Taman Negara National Park. Our results show that leopard activity peaks around 0600-0659 hours (dawn) and 1700-1759 hours (dusk). This study represents a fresh attempt to document the crepuscular nature of leopards in Taman Negara National Park.
... While these concerns merit attention, little substantiated evidence exists to support or refute them. Nevertheless, any additional strain may worsen the already perilous conservation status of such felids [38]. Ultimately, the truthvalue of P1(c) is uncertain and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. ...
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Conservation and natural resource management are increasingly attending the ethical elements of public decisions. Ethical considerations are challenging, in part, because they typically require accounting for the moral consideration of various human and nonhuman forms of life, whose interests sometimes conflict (or seem to conflict). A valuable tool for such evaluations is the formal analysis of ethical arguments. An ethical argument is a collection of premises, logically interrelated, to yield a conclusion that can be expressed in the form, “We ought to…” According to the rules of logic, a conclusion is supported by an argument if all its premises are true or appropriate and when it contains no mistaken inferences. We showed how the formal analysis of ethical arguments can be used to engage stakeholders and decision-makers in decision-making processes. We summarised the method with ten specific guidelines that would be applicable to any case. We illustrated the technique using a case study focused on captive-bred lions, the skeletons of which form part of an international trade to supply traditional medicine markets in Southeast Asia with felid bones. As a matter of public policy, the practice is a complicated nexus of concerns for entrepreneurial freedom, wildlife conservation, and the fair treatment of animals.
... Human persecution and hunting (e.g. [10][11][12]), habitat destruction (e.g. [13][14][15]) and reduced prey availability [16,17] have severely impacted the distribution of this elusive predator, and leopards are now extinct in large parts of their historic Asian and African distribution (Fig. 1) [7,18]. ...
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Background Resolving the historical biogeography of the leopard (Panthera pardus) is a complex issue, because patterns inferred from fossils and from molecular data lack congruence. Fossil evidence supports an African origin, and suggests that leopards were already present in Eurasia during the Early Pleistocene. Analysis of DNA sequences however, suggests a more recent, Middle Pleistocene shared ancestry of Asian and African leopards. These contrasting patterns led researchers to propose a two-stage hypothesis of leopard dispersal out of Africa: an initial Early Pleistocene colonisation of Asia and a subsequent replacement by a second colonisation wave during the Middle Pleistocene. The status of Late Pleistocene European leopards within this scenario is unclear: were these populations remnants of the first dispersal, or do the last surviving European leopards share more recent ancestry with their African counterparts? Results In this study, we generate and analyse mitogenome sequences from historical samples that span the entire modern leopard distribution, as well as from Late Pleistocene remains. We find a deep bifurcation between African and Eurasian mitochondrial lineages (~ 710 Ka), with the European ancient samples as sister to all Asian lineages (~ 483 Ka). The modern and historical mainland Asian lineages share a relatively recent common ancestor (~ 122 Ka), and we find one Javan sample nested within these. Conclusions The phylogenetic placement of the ancient European leopard as sister group to Asian leopards suggests that these populations originate from the same out-of-Africa dispersal which founded the Asian lineages. The coalescence time found for the mitochondrial lineages aligns well with the earliest undisputed fossils in Eurasia, and thus encourages a re-evaluation of the identification of the much older putative leopard fossils from the region. The relatively recent ancestry of all mainland Asian leopard lineages suggests that these populations underwent a severe population bottleneck during the Pleistocene. Finally, although only based on a single sample, the unexpected phylogenetic placement of the Javan leopard could be interpreted as evidence for exchange of mitochondrial lineages between Java and mainland Asia, calling for further investigation into the evolutionary history of this subspecies. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (10.1186/s12862-018-1268-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
... Human persecution and hunting [e.g. [10][11][12], habitat destruction [e.g. [13][14][15] and reduced prey availability [16,17] have severely impacted the distribution of this elusive predator, and leopards are now extinct in large parts of their historic Asian and African distribution ( Fig. 1) [7,18]. ...
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Background: Resolving the historical biogeography of the leopard (Panthera pardus) is a complex issue, because patterns inferred from fossils and from molecular data lack congruence. Fossil evidence supports an African origin, and suggests that leopards were already present in Eurasia during the Early Pleistocene. Analysis of DNA sequences however, suggests a more recent, Middle Pleistocene shared ancestry of Asian and African leopards. These contrasting patterns led researchers to propose a two-stage hypothesis of leopard dispersal out of Africa: an initial Early Pleistocene colonisation of Asia and a subsequent replacement by a second colonisation wave during the Middle Pleistocene. The status of Late Pleistocene European leopards within this scenario is unclear: were these populations remnants of the first dispersal, or do the last surviving European leopards share more recent ancestry with their African counterparts? Results: In this study, we generate and analyse mitogenome sequences from historical samples that span the entire modern leopard distribution, as well as from Late Pleistocene remains. We find a deep bifurcation between African and Eurasian mitochondrial lineages (~710 Ka), with the European ancient samples as sister to all Asian lineages (~483 Ka). The modern and historical mainland Asian lineages share a relatively recent common ancestor (~122 Ka), and we find one Javan sample nested within these. Conclusions: The phylogenetic placement of the ancient European leopard as sister group to Asian leopards suggests that these populations originate from the same out-of-Africa dispersal which founded the Asian lineages. The coalescence time found for the mitochondrial lineages aligns well with the earliest undisputed fossils in Eurasia, and thus encourages a re-evaluation of the identification of the much older putative leopard fossils from the region. The relatively recent ancestry of all mainland Asian leopard lineages suggests that these populations underwent a severe population bottleneck during the Pleistocene. Finally, although only based on a single sample, the unexpected phylogenetic placement of the Javan leopard could be interpreted as evidence for exchange of mitochondrial lineages between Java and mainland Asia, calling for further investigation into the evolutionary history of this subspecies.
... Particularly, the Indo-chinese sub-species (P. pardus delacouri, Pocock, 1930) is extirpated in Singapore, probably in Laos and Vietnam, nearly extirpated in Cambodia and China, and has a greatly reduced distribution in Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand (Rostro-García et al., 2016). Yet, one Asian landscape that is considered to be the richest temperate forest in the world in term of biodiversity, is the Hengduan Mountains area, located in China (MacKinnon, 2002), and China contains a high rate (14.7%) of the world's wild mammals (Grumbine, 2007). ...
Article
China has four sub-species of leopard throughout the country. One of them is the North China leopard (Panthera pardus japonensis, Gray, 1862) which experiences a wide range of threats. It remains at the centre of interest for recent research and new management policies within its natural habitat. Due to limited studies for a long time, its current distribution, and population size remain vague without accurate information. Using existing literature, we synthesized information on this endemic and endangered subspecies. We used research engines such as Google scholar, Baidu and China National Knowledge Internet (CNKI) to find any available literature about the sub-species. By reviewing 39 published documents, nine national and international web news, and asking questions to some specialists in leopard and wildlife managers; we have concluded that the species' current distribution has drastically changed, only 2 % of its historical distribution remains occupied by around 174-348 individuals. Extant patches are in continual danger as the Proximity Index previously found was small. Habitat fragmentation, retaliation, and decline in prey species are the main threats. However, there is hope for its survival, since the mega project launched in 2015 "Bring Leopards Home" and new management policies are being undertaken in protected areas that will annihilate or reduce threats. In addition, many researchers or governmental organisations are currently carrying out studies on this sub-species. These studies will fill information gaps on the North China leopard based on scientific evidence.
... Particularly, the Indo-chinese sub-species (P. pardus delacouri, Pocock, 1930) is extirpated in Singapore, probably in Laos and Vietnam, nearly extirpated in Cambodia and China, and has a greatly reduced distribution in Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand (Rostro-García et al., 2016). Yet, one Asian landscape that is considered to be the richest temperate forest in the world in term of biodiversity, is the Hengduan Mountains area, located in China (MacKinnon, 2002), and China contains a high rate (14.7%) of the world's wild mammals (Grumbine, 2007). ...
Article
Full-text available
China has four sub-species of leopard throughout the country. One of them is the North China leopard (Panthera pardus japonensis, Gray, 1862) which experiences a wide range of threats. It remains at the centre of interest for recent research and new management policies within its natural habitat. Due to limited studies for a long time, its current distribution, and population size remain vague without accurate information. Using existing literature, we synthesized information on this endemic and endangered subspecies. We used research engines such as Google scholar, Baidu and China National Knowledge Internet (CNKI) to find any available literature about the sub-species. By reviewing 39 published documents, nine national and international web news, and asking questions to some specialists in leopard and wildlife managers; we have concluded that the species' current distribution has drastically changed, only 2 % of its historical distribution remains occupied by around 174-348 individuals. Extant patches are in continual danger as the Proximity Index previously found was small. Habitat fragmentation, retaliation, and decline in prey species are the main threats. However, there is hope for its survival, since the mega project launched in 2015 "Bring Leopards Home" and new management policies are being undertaken in protected areas that will annihilate or reduce threats. In addition, many researchers or governmental organisations are currently carrying out studies on this sub-species. These studies will fill information gaps on the North China leopard based on scientific evidence.
... Mae Wong and Khlong Lan national parks (hereafter, MWKL) are part of Thailand's Western Forest Complex, a complex of protected areas that covers 19,000 km 2 and harbors one of the largest populations of tigers (Simcharoen et al. 2007) and probably leopards and dholes (Kamler et al. 2015, Rostro-García et al. 2016 remaining in mainland South-East Asia. Tiger density is a function of prey density and biomass (Karanth et al. 2004). ...
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Longitudinal studies of wildlife are urgently needed in South‐East Asia to understand population responses to the high poaching pressure that characterizes this region. We monitored population trends and habitat use of five heavily poached ungulate species (gaur, sambar, wild pig, red muntjac, and Fea's muntjac) over five years in two protected areas in western Thailand using camera trap surveys. We used single‐season occupancy models to investigate effects of ecological and anthropological variables on ungulate distribution, and multi‐season models to assess occupancy dynamics over time. Occupancy of gaur and sambar was low (<0.25), but concentrated near saltlicks and at low elevations. Wild pig and muntjac occupancies were 3–4 times higher (0.60–0.80). Wild pig occupancy was lower near villages, but this effect dissipated in the final year of the study, coinciding with a purported decrease in poaching. Wild pig occupancy increased significantly, with the probability of colonizing new sites doubling from 0.40 to 0.81 over time. In contrast, occupancy rates of gaur, sambar, and muntjac did not grow, though they were stable. Poaching pressure during the study was low, perhaps allowing populations to stabilize. But only wild pig (the most resilient of the five species) increased. The failure of gaur and sambar to recover might stem from historical overhunting combined with ecological constraints, particularly low saltlick density. Recovery of ungulates (and the carnivores that depend on them) in overhunted South‐East Asian reserves might require intensive interventions, particularly habitat improvement and population augmentation, to achieve conservation objectives.
... The large mammal fauna of the Northern and Eastern Plains of Cambodia that reportedly rivaled East Africa as recently as 50 years ago (Wharton 1966) has been decimated mainly due to snaring (Gray et al. 2017b). Within the proposed release site snaring was probably responsible for the elimination of preferred prey (O'Kelly et al. 2012(O'Kelly et al. , 2018 a rapid and ongoing decline in leopards Panthera pardus (Rostro-García et al. 2016), and the disappearance of tigers. SMART law enforcement data suggested that patrol effort was fairly high, and helped reveal that most patrols were on motorbikes along trails and roads, ensuring that rangers are unlikely to find and remove snares, or apprehend the people setting them. ...
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We comment on five aspects of Gray et al.’s (Biodivers Conserv, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-017-1365-1, 2017a) framework for assessing the readiness of sites for tiger reintroductions. Clarifications in numbers of tigers, available habitat and prey requirements indicate that more land and additional recovery of preferred prey species will be critical for a successful reintroduction. A focus on threat assessments and mitigations will be more important than a focus on site management tools. Local attitudes and levels of poaching require more attention than in the current assessment, as they are likely to be major obstacles to successful large carnivore reintroductions in Asia. Given the limited resources for rangewide tiger conservation, the value of such long-term initiatives must be weighed relative to the urgent need to recover and secure existing tiger populations before they also become extinct.
... Our study did not account for dynamic processes of landscape and climate change which may exert considerable influence on our study population over the next several decades. Cambodia, for example, has experienced considerable rates of deforestation and limited protected area security [83,84], which would undermine efforts to support population persistence and maintain broad-scale connectivity. Conversely, we did not test scenarios of habitat restoration which may otherwise augment movement through our study landscape (e.g., [12]). ...
Article
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Development of landscape connectivity and spatial population models is challenging, given the uncertainty of parameters and the sensitivity of models to factors and their interactions over time. Using spatially and temporally explicit simulations, we evaluate the sensitivity of population distribution, abundance and connectivity of tigers in Southeast Asia to variations of resistance surface, dispersal ability, population density and mortality. Utilizing a temporally dynamic cumulative resistant kernel approach, we tested (1) effects and interactions of parameters on predicted population size, distribution and connectivity, and (2) displacement and divergence in scenarios across timesteps. We evaluated the effect of varying levels of factors on simulated population, cumulative resistance kernel extent, and kernel sum across nine timesteps, producing 24,300 simulations. We demonstrate that predicted population, range shifts, and landscape connectivity are highly sensitive to parameter values with significant interactions and relative strength of effects varying by timestep. Dispersal ability, mortality risk and their interaction dominated predictions. Further, population density had intermediate effects, landscape resistance had relatively low impacts, and mitigation of linear barriers (highways) via lowered resistance had little relative effect. Results are relevant to regional, long-term tiger population management, providing insight into potential population growth and range expansion across a landscape of global conservation priority.
... For example, lack of clouded leopard detections in Vietnam is consistent with similar findings for leopards(P. pardus;Rostro-García et al., 2016), tigers (P. tigris; Lynam ...
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Aim Deforestation is rapidly altering Southeast Asian landscapes, resulting in some of the highest rates of habitat loss worldwide. Among the many species facing declines in this region, clouded leopards rank notably for their ambassadorial potential and capacity to act as powerful levers for broader forest conservation programmes. Thus, identifying core habitat and conservation opportunities are critical for curbing further Neofelis declines and extending umbrella protection for diverse forest biota similarly threatened by widespread habitat loss. Furthermore, a recent comprehensive habitat assessment of Sunda clouded leopards (N. diardi) highlights the lack of such information for the mainland species (N. nebulosa) and facilitates a comparative assessment. Location Southeast Asia. Methods Species–habitat relationships are scale‐dependent, yet <5% of all recent habitat modelling papers apply robust approaches to optimize multivariate scale relationships. Using one of the largest camera trap datasets ever collected, we developed scale‐optimized species distribution models for two con‐generic carnivores, and quantitatively compared their habitat niches. Results We identified core habitat, connectivity corridors, and ranked remaining habitat patches for conservation prioritization. Closed‐canopy forest was the strongest predictor, with ~25% lower Neofelis detections when forest cover declined from 100 to 65%. A strong, positive association with increasing precipitation suggests ongoing climate change as a growing threat along drier edges of the species’ range. While deforestation and land use conversion were deleterious for both species, N. nebulosa was uniquely associated with shrublands and grasslands. We identified 800 km² as a minimum patch size for supporting clouded leopard conservation. Main conclusions We illustrate the utility of multi‐scale modelling for identifying key habitat requirements, optimal scales of use and critical targets for guiding conservation prioritization. Curbing deforestation and development within remaining core habitat and dispersal corridors, particularly in Myanmar, Laos and Malaysia, is critical for supporting evolutionary potential of clouded leopards and conservation of associated forest biodiversity.
... It remains to be elucidated whether a cross border corridor that links Dhofar and Hawf exists currently. Alternatively, a range breakdown of the wild Arabian leopard population might become palpable and remanence to other leopard range collapse in south east Asia [56] and restricted corridors movement in Russia [57] and [58]. The geographically isolated and relatively small wild populace of the Arabian leopard would inevitably undergo loss of diversity, spatial homogeneity and genetic drift due to a systematic inbreeding structure. ...
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Rationale: Big felids including the Panthera genus are under tremendous stressful conditions that threaten the very existence of wild populations around the world. Survivability is commonly linked to numerous factors such as poaching, habitat fragmentation, inbreeding depression and lack of prey. A crucial element that is used to mitigate endangerment risk is the enhancement of reproductive performance with the use of assisted reproductive technologies. Amongst them is computer assisted sperm analysis (CASA) that digitally evaluates the kinematics of individual spermatozoa. Regrettably, this powerful tool is overlooked in all big felids due to the lack of a universal setting.Objective: To conduct a comparative CASA with several species modules and to deploy it for the first time in the critically endangered Arabian leopard.Results: The progressive motility was variable amongst all settings, whereby the highest in the bovine standard (82.9%), lowest in the stallion setting (12%), subjective (85%) and average at 50.1%. The combination of all motility parametrics, indicate a progressive joining of two minor and two major clusters with a very high distance of 93% and a linkage space of approximately 42%. This in turn demonstrate notable divergence of two important kinematic settings.Conclusion: The current study illustrates the inconsistent and incompatible readings amongst various CASA species modules. This affirms the urgent need to establish CASA exclusively customized for the Panthera genus to maximize the reproductive potential.
... In these cases, we excluded the transient observations, assuming they either document the species' local extirpation (e.g., Coudrat et al., 2014;Coudrat, 2019) or isolated incidents of dispersal (e.g., records along China's southern border). Camera-trap surveys with no detections were only included if survey effort was !500 trap-nights, following a similar review of Indochinese leopard Panthera pardus delacouri records by Rostro-García et al. (2016). Using the results of our literature review, we classify strongholds by recent survey and detection status [i.e., (1) surveyed, presence confirmed; (2) surveyed, presence unconfirmed; and (3) unsurveyed, presence unconfirmed] to better facilitate the prioritization of conservation efforts. ...
Article
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To mitigate the ongoing biodiversity crisis in Tropical Asia, caused by extensive deforestation and wildlife poaching, we will need to take more strategic approaches towards identifying and prioritizing meaningful conservation interventions. This, however, can prove difficult for data-limited species. Focusing on the little-studied mainland clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), a potential umbrella species in the region, we demonstrate an accessible, flexible, and scalable approach applicable to any species. First, we model the species' range-wide local extirpation threat using a Bayesian Belief Network, taking into account the distribution of remaining suitable habitat and major anthropogenic threats (habitat loss and poaching). We then identify remaining habitat strongholds (defined as large contiguous areas of high quality habitat where the species could survive over the mid-to-long term) and grouped them into stronghold complexes, which we categorized based on local extirpation threat and recent camera-trap survey status. Our results show a 34% decline in the range-wide area categorized as a stronghold due to forest cover changes between 2000 and 2018, with 80% of remaining strongholds identified as having a high or very high average threat of local extirpation. Based on published records, only 60% of remaining strongholds had at least one site surveyed by camera-traps in the last 10 years, highlighting an important knowledge gap concerning the species' current distribution and population status. Combined, the results of our survey review and threat analysis suggest the species is likely extirpated from all of Vietnam, most of China, and large parts of Cambodia and Laos. Finally, we synthesize our findings, highlight tangible conservation needs, and propose actions for each stronghold complex based on the area's specific threats, protection level, and survey status, paving the way for the detailed local investigations needed to implement meaningful interventions on the ground.
... Population declines of mainland clouded leopard are driven by a combination of direct exploitation and targeted hunting, incidental mortality due to snares set for other species (although any mainland clouded leopard caught would likely enter trade), and habitat loss. Snaring has been implicated in the declines of many ground-dwelling forest dependent species throughout Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Viet Nam (hereafter Indochina), including big cats (Rasphone et al. 2019, Rostro-García et al. 2016, and it is likely to have impacted Mainland Clouded Leopard populations in all three countries (Fig. 2). In Cambodia and Lao PDR, intensification of snaring throughout forests and protected areas occurred during the assessment period (Gray et al. 2018). ...
... Strongholds were classified by survey status as either: (1) surveyed and confirmed, (2) surveyed and unconfirmed, or (3) unsurveyed and unconfirmed, based on the results of our literature review (see Section 2.2). Camera-trap surveys that possessed a total survey effort < 500 trapnights and did not detect golden cats were not included (following Rostro-García et al., 2016). To supplement our classification scheme, we also measured the percentage of each stronghold overlapping a protected area listed by the World Database on Protected Areas (UNEP-WCMC and IUCN, 2020). ...
Article
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Identifying conservation priorities for an understudied species can be challenging, as the amount and type of data available to work with are often limited. Here, we demonstrate a flexible workflow for identifying priorities for such data-limited species, focusing on the little-studied Asian golden cat (Catopuma temminckii) in mainland Tropical Asia. Using recent occurrence records, we modeled the golden cat’s expected area of occurrence and identified remaining habitat strongholds (i.e., large intact areas with moderate-to-high expected occurrence). We then classified these strongholds by recent camera-trap survey status (from a literature review) and near-future threat status (based on publicly available forest loss projections and Bayesian Belief Network derived estimates of hunting-induced extirpation risk) to identify conservation priorities. Finally, we projected the species’ expected area of occurrence in the year 2000, approximately three generations prior to today, to define past declines and better evaluate the species’ current conservation status. Lower levels of hunting-induced extirpation risk and higher levels of closed-canopy forest cover were the strongest predictors of recent camera-trap records. Our projections suggest a 68% decline in area with moderate-to-high expected occurrence between 2000 and 2020, with a further 18% decline predicted over the next 20 years. Past and near-future declines were primarily driven by cumulatively increasing levels of hunting-induced extirpation risk, suggesting assessments of conservation status based solely on declines in habitat may underestimate actual population declines. Of the 40 remaining habitat strongholds, 77.5% were seriously threatened by forest loss and hunting. Only 52% of threatened strongholds had at least one site surveyed, compared to 100% of low-to-moderate threat strongholds, thus highlighting an important knowledge gap concerning the species’ current distribution and population status. Our results suggest the golden cat has experienced, and will likely continue to experience, considerable population declines and should be considered for up-listing to a threatened category (i.e., VU/EN) under criteria A2c of the IUCN Red List.
... Such changes influence home range size in ways that are particularly notable in larger carnivore species. Leopards occur in diverse settings across Africa and Asia (Jacobson et al. 2016), occupy a wide range of habitat types (deserts to rainforests), and coexist with humans along a spectrum of development from wilderness to habitats adjoining high human density areas (Stein et al. 2011(Stein et al. , 2016Rostro-García et al. 2016;Kshettry et al. 2017;Kafley et al. 2019). In some human-dominated settings inhabited by leopards, domestic prey biomass is much higher relative to natural prey biomass observed inside protected areas (Athreya et al. 2016), and as such, some leopard populations consume higher proportions of domestic species. ...
Article
Home range size is a fundamental measure of animal space use, providing insight into habitat quality, animal density, and social organization. Human impacts are increasingly affecting wildlife, especially among wide-ranging species that encounter anthropogenic disturbance. Leopards (Panthera pardus) provide a useful model for studying this relationship because leopards coexist with people at high and low human densities and are sensitive to human disturbance. To compare leopard home range size across a range of human densities and other environmental conditions, we combined animal tracking data from 74 leopards in multiple studies with new analytical techniques that accommodate different sampling regimes. We predicted that home ranges would be smaller in more productive habitats and areas of higher human population density due to possible linkage with leopard prey subsidies from domestic species. We also predicted that male leopards would have larger home ranges than those of females. Home ranges varied in size from 14.5 km2 in India to 885.6 km2 in Namibia, representing a 60-fold magnitude of variation. Home range stability was evident for 95.2% of non-translocated individuals and 38.5% of translocated individuals. Leopard home range sizes were negatively correlated with landscape productivity, and males used larger areas than females. Leopards in open habitats had a predicted negative correlation in home range size with human population density, but leopards in closed habitats used larger home ranges in areas with more people.
... Consequently, tiger populations have crashed throughout Southeast Asia, and they have become extirpated over a large majority of the region (Goodrich et al. 2015). Similarly, leopard have recently experienced a range collapse in Southeast Asia primarily due to poaching (Rostro-García et al. 2016), and they are now extirpated from 94-98% of their former distribution in the region, and were recently classified as Critically Endangered (Rostro-García et al. 2019). Distributions of medium and small-sized felids have also been reduced in Southeast Asia, although not to the same extent as large felids. ...
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Determining the density trends of a guild of species can help illuminate their interactions, and the impacts that humans might have on them. We estimated the density trends from 2013 to 2017 of the clouded leopard Neofelis nebulosa, leopard cat Prionailurus bengalensis and marbled cat Pardofelis marmorata in Nam Et—Phou Louey National Park (NEPL), Laos, using camera trap data and spatial capture-recapture models. Mean (± SD) density estimates (individuals/100 km²) for all years were 1.77 ± 0.30 for clouded leopard, 1.50 ± 0.30 for leopard cat, and 3.80 ± 0.70 for marbled cat. There was a declining trend in density across the study years for all three species, with a ≥ 90% probability of decline for clouded leopard and leopard cat and an 83% probability of decline for marbled cat. There was no evidence that mesopredator release occurred as a result of tiger (Panthera tigris) and leopard (P. pardus) extirpations. We believe that snaring, the factor that led to the extirpation of tiger and leopard in NEPL, is now contributing to the decline of smaller felids, to an extent that over-rides any potential effects of mesopredator release on their densities and interactions. We recommend that the NEPL managers implement a more systematic and intensified snare removal program, in concert with extensive community outreach and engagement of local people to prevent the setting of snares. These actions might be the only hope for saving the remaining members of the felid community in NEPL.
... To date, most studies and conservation efforts in Southeast Asian mammals have focused primarily on large flagship and high-profile species, such as tigers (Panthera tigris; Walston et al., 2010), orangutans (Pongo spp., Pandong et al., 2019), Asian elephants (Elephas maximus ;Wadey et al., 2018) and more recently leopards (P. pardus; Rostro-García, Kamler, et al., 2016), and clouded leopards (Neofelis nebulosa; Macdonald et al., 2019), with little attention given to smaller species (Brodie, 2009). ...
Article
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Dry deciduous dipterocarp forests (DDF) cover about 15%–20% of Southeast Asia and are the most threatened forest type in the region. The jungle cat (Felis chaus) is a DDF specialist that occurs only in small isolated populations in Southeast Asia. Despite being one of the rarest felids in the region, almost nothing is known about its ecology. We investigated the ecology of jungle cats and their resource partitioning with the more common leopard cats (Prionailurus bengalensis) in a DDF‐dominated landscape in Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary, Cambodia. We used camera‐trap data collected from 2009 to 2019 and DNA‐confirmed scats to determine the temporal, dietary and spatial overlap between jungle cats and leopard cats. The diet of jungle cats was relatively diverse and consisted of murids (56% biomass consumed), sciurids (15%), hares (Lepus peguensis; 12%), birds (8%), and reptiles (8%), whereas leopard cats had a narrower niche breadth and a diet dominated by smaller prey, primarily murids (73%). Nonetheless, dietary overlap was high because both felid species consumed predominantly small rodents. Both species were primarily nocturnal and had high temporal overlap. Two‐species occupancy modelling suggested jungle cats were restricted to DDF and had low occupancy, whereas leopard cats had higher occupancy and were habitat generalists. Our study confirmed that jungle cats are DDF specialists that likely persist in low numbers due to the harsh conditions of the dry season in this habitat, including annual fires and substantial decreases in small vertebrate prey. The lower occupancy and more diverse diet of jungle cats, together with the broader habitat use of leopard cats, likely facilitated the coexistence of these species. The low occupancy of jungle cats in DDF suggests that protection of large areas of DDF will be required for the long‐term conservation of this rare felid in Southeast Asia.
... Particularly, the IndoChinese sub-species (P. pardus delacori, Pocock, 1930) is extirpated in Singapore, probably in Laos and Vietnam, nearly extirpated in Cambodia and China, and has a greatly reduced distribution in Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand [123] . Yet, one Asian landscape that is considered to be the richest temperate forest in the world in term of biodiversity, is the Hengduan Mountains area, located in China [31] , and China contains a high rate (14.7%) of the world's wild mammals [32] . ...
Thesis
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Carnivores have always undergone interspecific and intraspecific threats that seem tough to detect since carnivore studies often rely on passive sampling when investigating spatiotemporal threats or interactions with human activities. Studies on carnivores’ niche have been an important ecological topic for a long time as carnivore species are crucial in the functioning of ecosystems. This study focused on analysing the coexistence patterns of the North China leopard (Panthera pardus japonensis), the leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) and the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in a human-dominated landscape, the Tieqiaoshan Natural Reserve (TNR), and to provide insights for implications of carnivores conservation. The objectives of the study were: 1) to make insights on the North China leopard in distribution, threats, conservation and population status; 2) to characterize the spatiotemporal coexistence of the North China leopard, the leopard cat and the red fox in one season of data collection and depict effects of environmental factors on species’ site occupation; 3) to make a multi-year assessment of occupancy, detection and coexistence across three years and evaluate anthropogenic disturbances on carnivores estimates; 4) to analyse the threats of invasive species, including humans, livestock, and domestic dogs, on native carnivore in spatiotemporal patterns. We used the documentary method to bring out results related to the first objective. For the three remaining objectives, in the spatial patterns, we performed the occupancy models, the single-season single-species and single-season two species (where 589 independent photographs from 81 camera traps were analysed), multi-season single-species and multi-season two species (where 81, 62 and 62 camera traps were respectively used in season one, two and three, with 589, 496 and 472 independent photographs respectively) from 2017 to 2019. We estimated three carnivores' site occupation, the environmental factors’ and human disturbances effect on species’ occupancy and detectability. In the last objective, we also estimated the site occupation of invasive species (humans, livestock, and domestic dogs). On the other hand, we calculated the temporal overlap between species using the Kernel Density Estimate through the overlap package in the temporal patterns. The mainly results of this study are followings: 1) We suggested that the North China leopard's current distribution has drastically changed and only 2 % of its historical distribution remains occupied. Extant patches are in continual danger as the proximity index of patches was small which implying lack of connectivity. Habitat fragmentation, retaliation, and decline in prey species are the main threats. However, there is hope in conservation and long term existence in the area for this leopard sub-species for its survival because new management policies are being undertaken and will eradicate or reduce threats. 2) Our study revealed extensive and simultaneous presence, implying high overlapping for space and activities during a broad time period (dawn-morning, and crepuscular) between fox and leopard. The North China leopard and the leopard cat avoided each other. The leopard cat and the red fox independently co-occurred with an overlap in nocturnal time. There was true coexistence between the North China leopard and the red fox. The vegetation continuous cover degree was found to be the most important factor in candidate models for site occupation. 3) In a multi-year pattern, the North China leopard occupancy probability did not markedly change with time as the occupancy equilibrium was constant or slightly enhanced. The occupancy of the leopard cat decreased with time. The occupancy equilibrium of the red fox alternately increased and decreased. However, all species presented a slight level of occupancy stability due to their small values of rate of change in occupancy. Environmental factors and anthropogenic disturbances slightly influenced the occupancy of all species across the years. The colonisation and local extinction for all species were relatively more strongly affected by the distances to villages and roads. Moreover, elevation increased the colonisation and decreased the extinction of the leopard cat. Species interaction factors increased with time for all species. 4) In the invasive and carnivore species’ encroachement, the invasive species did not show substantial changes in the occupancy rate and were well detected. Still, invasive species depicted higher values of occupancy equilibrium than carnivores in both interseasons. Domestic dogs directly co-occur with native carnivores (SIF > 1) while humans and livestock presence have direct (SIF > 1) and indirect (SIF not very high than 1) co-occurrence respectively with the North China leopard and leopard cat and red fox. The leopard cat was the least spatially affected carnivore by the invasive species interactions. In temporal patterns, the North China leopard depicted real temporal activities overlap (high Δ4) with all invasive species compared with the leopard cat and red fox (low Δ4). 5) This research confirmed that environmental factors and human perturbations are vital factors to wild carnivores' coexistence. It also exposes the negative impact of free-ranging invasive species across this protected area on native wild carnivores. An evaluation of how a carnivore species is studied and its coexistence with sympatric and invasive species across diverse protected areas management regimes is crucial to develop robust landscape-scale conservation strategies.
... Some of the leading causes relating to the endangerment of many wild cat species, including tigers and leopards, are the disturbance humans have on the environment [18][19][20], along with harmful human activities such as poaching and climate change [11,17]. With regards to cheetahs, the increasing human population and, therefore, the utilization of more land for activities such as farming [21] has led to the fragmentation or total loss of habitat [17] and has resulted in a total loss of 91% of historic range since the 1900s [1]. ...
Article
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The cheetah species (Acinonyx jubatus) is currently listed as vulnerable according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Captive breeding has long since been used as a method of conservation of the species, with the aim to produce a healthy, strong population of cheetahs with an increased genetic variety when compared to their wild counterparts. This would then increase the likelihood of survivability once released into protected areas. Unfortunately, breeding females have been reported to be difficult due to the age of these animals. Older females are less fertile, have more difficult parturition, and are susceptible to asymmetric reproductive aging whereas younger females tend to show a significantly lower frequency of mating behaviour than that of older females, which negatively affects breeding introductions, and therefore mating. Nonetheless, the experience from breeding methods used in some breeding centres in South Africa and the Netherlands, which also rely on the role that semiochemicals play in breeding, proves that cheetahs can be bred successfully in captivity. This review aims to give the reader an in-depth overview of cheetahs’ reproductive physiology and behaviour, focusing on the role that pheromones play in this species. Furthermore, it aims to provide new insight into the use of semiochemicals to improve conservation strategies through captive breeding.
... pardus nimr, orientalis and melas) and two endangered (P. pardus saxicolor and kotiya) (Jacobson et al., 2016;Rostro-García et al., 2016). Until recently, assessments of leopard conservation status in sub-Saharan Africa (P. ...
Article
Globally three quarters of large terrestrial mammalian predators are in decline and many populations are data deficient, including those of African leopards across much of their range. Here we assess the drivers of decline African leopard populations in 16 camera trap surveys covering a total area of 15,120 km², across a gradient of anthropogenic impact, management and geography, in protected areas across the Zimbabwean component of the Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area. Population density was calculated using spatially explicit mark-recapture estimators and Generalised Additive Models (GAM) were used to assess factors affecting population density. Density estimates ranged from 0.7 to 12.2 (mean 2.9 ± 2.7) leopards/100km². Leopard density was higher in wooded sites and rugged terrain but negatively affected by human factors including human appropriation of net primary productivity (HANPP), trophy hunting risk and bush-meat poaching. High lion densities (>6.0 lions/ 100km²) negatively affected leopard density. Annual rainfall over a gradient of ~300 mm across survey sites was not influential in predicting population density. Previous assessments of the drivers of declining leopard population density (CITES 1988), asserting that leopard densities can be predicted by annual rainfall and are unaffected by human disturbance in unmodified habitat are not supported by our findings. We recommend that the 1988 assessment, used to manage CITES leopard trophy hunting export quotas since the late 1980s, should be reviewed.
... All these species are too big for medium-large carnivores such as the clouded leopard or the Asiatic golden cat (Catopuma temminckii), leaving only the dhole (Cuon alpinus) able to exploit large herbivores, except for elephants, as a species hunting in packs [56,57]. Historical data supported the presence of tigers in the RYER [48], and leopards are known to be present inside the Yoma Elephant Range [58], but we did not detect either species during our three years of monitoring. In the HWS, instead, we documented the presence of tigers, and we also know that leopards are commonly present [26,59]. ...
Article
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Tropical forests comprise a critically impacted habitat, and it is known that altered forests host a lower diversity of mammal communities. In this study, we investigated the mammal communities of two areas in Myanmar with similar environmental conditions but with great differences in habitat degradation and human disturbance. The main goal was to understand the status and composition of these communities in an understudied area like Myanmar at a broad scale. Using camera trap data from a three-year-long campaign and hierarchical occupancy models with a Bayesian formulation, we evaluated the biodiversity level (species richness) and different ecosystem functions (diet and body mass), as well as the occupancy values of single species as a proxy for population density. We found a lower mammal diversity in the disturbed area, with a significantly lower number of carnivores and herbivores species. Interestingly, the area did not show alteration in its functional composition. Almost all the specific roles in the community were present except for apex predators, thus suggesting that the effects of human disturbance are mainly effecting the communities highest levels. Furthermore, two species showed significantly lower occupancies in the disturbed area during all the monitoring campaigns: one with a strong pressure for bushmeat consumption and a vulnerable carnivore threatened by illegal wildlife trade.
... Owing to unsustainable hunting and poaching, most large animals (> 1 kg) have experienced a precipitous decline in their populations across the SEA region (Harrison et al., 2016). Highly valued species, such as the Chinese pangolin (Challender et al., 2014), Indochinese leopard and tiger (Lynam, 2010;Rostro-Garcia et al., 2016), Javan rhinoceros (Brook et al., 2014), and Burmese star tortoise (Platt et al., 2011) have been extirpated from much of their original range or have even gone extinct in the wild. Crucially, the depletion of the region's wildlife resources has not only transformed the roles of certain SEA countries within the supply chain-Vietnam, for one, has evolved from a regional supplier into a key distribution center (Lin, 2005;Ngoc and Wyatt, 2013;Davis et al., 2019)-but it has also forced poachers, smugglers and illicit traders to target new source areas and alternative species as substitutes. ...
Article
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China is among the world’s leading consumer markets for wildlife extracted both legally and illegally from across the globe. Due to its mega-richness in biodiversity and strong economic ties with China, Southeast Asia (SEA) has long been implicated as a source and transit hub in the transnational legal and illegal wildlife trade with China. Although several cross-border and domestic wildlife enforcement mechanisms have been established to tackle this illegal trade in the region, international legal cooperation and policy coordination between China and its SEA neighbors remain limited in both scope and effectiveness. Difficulties in investigating and prosecuting offenders in overseas jurisdictions, as well as organized criminal groups that sustain the illicit supply chain, continue to undermine efforts by the region’s governments to combat wildlife trafficking. In addition to reviewing the key trends in both the legal and illegal wildlife trade between SEA and China, this paper examines existing legal and policy frameworks in SEA countries and China, and provides a synthesis of evidence on the latest developments in regional efforts to curtail this multibillion-dollar trade. In particular, it discusses how proactive and effective China has been in cooperating with its SEA neighbors on this issue. The paper also draws on the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) framework to suggest pathways to deepen legal cooperation between China and SEA countries in order to disrupt and dismantle transnational wildlife trafficking in the region.
... Leopards are the most wide-ranging of large felids, yet their populations have been reduced, isolated, and even extirpated from large portions of their historic range owing to a host of threats (Jacobson et al., 2016;Rostro-García et al., 2016;Stein et al., 2020). Although the species receives research and conservation attention, there is a spatial bias in these efforts with camera trapping studies being concentrated in Africa (P. ...
Article
Melanism is a form of pigmentation polymorphism where individuals have darker colouration than what is considered the 'wild' phenotype. In the case of leopards, Panthera pardus, melanism occurs at higher frequencies amongst populations in tropical and subtropical moist forests of south and southeast Asia, presenting a unique challenge in estimating and monitoring these populations. Unlike the wild phenotype that is readily recognizable by its rosette patterns, melanism results in individuals being unidentifiable or 'unmarked' through photographic captures obtained using white flash cameras. Spatial mark-resight (SMR) models that require only a subset of the population to be 'marked' offer the opportunity to estimate population density. In this study, we present an application of SMR models to estimate leopard densities using camera trap survey data from three sampling years at Manas National Park (MNP), India. By using an SMR model that allowed us to include captures of unidentified sightings of marked individuals, we were also able to incorporate captures where identity was either not confirmed or only known from a single flank. Following 18 674 trap-days of sampling across three years, we obtained 728 leopard photo-captures, of which 22.6% (165) were melanistic. We estimated leopard densities of 4.33, 2.61 and 3.37 individuals/100 km 2 across the 3 years. To our best knowledge, these represent the first known estimates of leopard densities from populations comprising both melanistic and wild phenotypes. Finally, we highlight that SMR models present an opportunity to revisit past camera trap survey data for leopards and other species such as Jaguars, P. onca, that exhibit phenotypic polymorphism towards generating valuable information on populations.
... Wild pigs have been documented to exhibit explosive population growth in similar ecosystems where natural predators have been removed and food availability is abundant (Ickes, 2001). Considering the high reproductive rate, and the extirpation of the pig's main predator (the tiger) and low abundance of other natural predators such as leopards and dhole (Gray, Rattanak, et al., 2012;Rostro-García et al., 2016, 2018, it could be expected that the population trend would be fluctuating but with an overall increase over an 8-year term. However, this is not the case in the EPL as the differences between 'dips' and 'peaks' are not statistically significant (although such comparison is complicated by the wide variance due to the highly variable cluster sizes and encounter rates). ...
Technical Report
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Results from a decade-long (2010-2020) ungulate monitoring survey in Srepok and Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuaries of the Eastern Plains Landscape of Cambodia showed dramatic declines in Banteng and Red Muntjac populations, and that only small populations of Eld’s Deer, Gaur, and Sambar remain in the landscape. Errata: calculation errors in Table 4 of page 39 and associated text in Section 3.3 have been corrected in this updated version of the report, dated September 2021.
... Declines in these six countries are driven by a combination of targeted poaching for large cats (particularly in Myanmar), habitat loss, and incidental capture in snares (particularly in Indochina). Snaring has been implicated in declines of many ground-dwelling forest dependent species throughout Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Viet Nam (Belecky and Gray 2020) including big cats (Rasphone et al. 2019, Rostro-García et al. 2016 and is likely to have impacted Mainland Clouded Leopard populations in all three countries. In Cambodia and Lao PDR, the intensification of snaring throughout forests and protected areas occurred during the assessment period. ...
Article
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Climate change affects animal populations by affecting their habitats. The leopard population has significantly decreased due to climate change and human disturbance. We studied the impact of climate change on leopard habitats using infrared camera technology in the Liupanshan National Nature Reserve of Jingyuan County, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, China, from July 2017 to October 2019. We captured 25 leopard distribution points over 47,460 camera working days. We used the MAXENT model to predict and analyze the habitat. We studied the leopard’s suitable habitat area and distribution area under different geographical scales in the reserve. Changes in habitat area of leopards under the rcp2.6, rcp4.5, and rcp8.5 climate models in Guyuan in 2050 were also studied. We conclude that the current main factors affecting suitable leopard habitat area were vegetation cover and human disturbance. The most critical factor affecting future suitable habitat area is rainfall. Under the three climate models, the habitat area of the leopard decreased gradually because of an increase in carbon dioxide concentration. Through the prediction of the leopard’s distribution area in the Liupanshan Nature Reserve, we evaluated the scientific nature of the reserve, which is helpful for the restoration and protection of the wild leopard population.
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Deciduous dipterocarp forests throughout Asia provide crucial habitat for several globally threatened species. During the dry season water availability in these forests is primarily limited to perennial rivers and waterholes. Such water sources form an essential part of these dry forests and are used by multiple species, including large mammals and birds, but little is known regarding how waterhole characteristics affect wildlife use. We investigated waterhole utilization by six globally threatened dry forest specialists: banteng Bos javanicus , Eld's deer Rucervus eldii , giant ibis Thaumatibis gigantea , green peafowl Pavo muticus , lesser adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus and Asian woolly-necked stork Ciconia episcopus . We camera-trapped 54 waterholes in Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary, eastern Cambodia, during the dry season of December 2015–June 2016. We measured nine waterhole and landscape characteristics, including indicators of human disturbance. Waterhole depth (measured every 2 weeks) and the area of water at the start of the dry season were the main environmental factors influencing waterhole use. Additionally, waterholes further from villages were more frequently used than those nearer. Our study reaffirmed the importance of waterholes in supporting globally threatened species, especially large grazers, which are critical for maintaining these dry forest ecosystems. The results also suggested that artificially enlarging and deepening selected waterholes, particularly those further from human disturbance, could enhance available habitat for a range of species, including grazers. However, this would need to be conducted in coordination with patrolling activities to ensure waterholes are not targets for illegal hunting, which is a problem throughout South-east Asian protected areas.
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This study looks for the first time at the extent to which terrestrial animals protected by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) are being impacted by wild meat taking, trade and consumption. It contributes to the implementation of a decision adopted by the CMS Conference of the Parties in 2020 (CMS Decision 13.109). We assessed the direct and indirect impacts of wild meat taking, trade and consumption of 105 terrestrial mammal species listed in the CMS Appendices I and II and relevant CMS daughter agreements and initiatives. We first used a systematic review of the published literature, global database searches and the IUCN Red List to determine which CMS species are affected by wild meat hunting. We then reviewed the legislation applicable to the regulation of wild meat hunting and trade and explored the application of hunting legislation using a national case-study example. Finally, we examined the known linkages between zoonotic diseases and wild meat use and trade.
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The green peafowl Pavo muticus is a highly threatened galliform species that was historically distributed widely across South-east Asia. Evidence shows a recent population decline and range contraction for this species, linked with habitat degradation and over-exploitation. This study aimed to determine the current known distribution across mainland South-east Asia and investigate potential habitat that could host remaining viable populations and contribute to the long-term survival of the species. We used locations from historical and recent records and habitat variables from a geographical information system database to model the probability of occurrence and classify key localities according to their relative importance for the species. Our results showed that the green peafowl probably occurs in less than 16% of its historical range across mainland South-east Asia and that remaining locations are fragmented. Four confirmed and two potential stronghold populations were identified for the species, based on the localities with high capacity to contribute to its long-term survival in large contiguous patches. These were in central Myanmar, western and northern Thailand, eastern Cambodia/south-central Viet Nam and northern Cambodia/southern Lao. Threats vary amongst countries, with continued habitat loss and degradation in many areas and hunting particularly acute in Viet Nam, Cambodia and Lao. Most of the remaining populations are in protected areas but the protection level varies widely. We propose conservation actions for each stronghold population, in accordance with the nature of the threats and protection level in each area, to prevent the local extinction of this species.
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Modern leopards originated in Africa less than a million years ago and dispersed east through Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent up to the Far East and Southeast Asia, where it has a discontinuous distribution today. Scarce resources, intraguild competition and the eruption of Mt Toba may have led to extinction of leopards on Sumatra. In Peninsular Malaysia the range and population of leopards have decreased since the last century along with reduction in suitable forest habitat, to an estimated 500-700 individuals today. The fact that nearly all leopards on the peninsula are melanistic is an unusual phenomenon attributed to genetic drift and natural selection, the latter likely driven by advantage in concealment from tigers in a thickly forested environment. Melanism alone does not make leopards in Malaysia genetically distinct from other Indochinese leopards (Panthera pardus delacouri) to warrant classification as a different subspecies, but it does make them a globally unique subpopulation worthy of conservation and protection.
Chapter
For many centuries, humans and wildlife species have co-existed through domestication and protection of habitats. However, because of competition due to a perception of limited natural resources, the Human-Wildlife Conflict (‘HWC’) has become a serious global issue, including in Bhutan, posing a grave concern to the conservationist, agriculturist, public and policy makers worldwide. This chapter provides a situational analysis of the HWC in the global context, and its specific importance to the prevailing circumstances in certain parts of Bhutan, pertaining to the policies and strategies, preventive, mitigation, and response measures of such conflicts. Simultaneously, a detailed study of the HWC was conducted at Jomotshangka Wildlife Sanctuary, which encompasses three types of vegetation. Assessment of a global literature review and good practices, and results of a case study have been used to develop a road map of the HWC resolution in Bhutan using non-violent deployable techniques and Buddhist perspectives as preventive and mitigation measures.
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Sun bears (Helarctos malayanus) have a wide distribution in Southeast Asia, but little is known about their natural predators. During a camera-trap survey in 2018 in Htamanthi Wildlife Sanctuary, Myanmar, we photographed a male leopard (Panthera pardus) carrying a sun bear cub by the throat. This is the first reported case of probable predation on sun bears by leopards, and only their second confirmed predator. A literature review showed that consumption of sun bears and Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus) by tigers (P. tigris) was widespread in Southeast Asia, whereas consumption of both bear species by leopards and dholes (Cuon alpinus) was less common. Outside of Southeast Asia, tigers and leopards, but not dholes, were shown to kill or consume other bear species. Future research should examine interspecific relationships between sun bears and large felids to better understand what, if any, impacts large felids have on sun bear ecology.
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Dramatic population declines threaten the Endangered Indochinese tiger Panthera tigris corbetti with extinction. Thailand now plays a critical role in its conservation, as there are few known breeding populations in other range countries. Thailand's Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex is recognized as an important tiger recovery site, but it remains poorly studied. Here, we present results from the first camera-trap study focused on tigers and implemented across all protected areas in this landscape. Our goal was to assess tiger and prey populations across the five protected areas of this forest complex, reviewing discernible patterns in rates of detection. We conducted camera-trap surveys opportunistically during 2008–2017. We recorded 1,726 detections of tigers in 79,909 camera-trap nights. Among these were at least 16 adults and six cubs/juveniles from four breeding females. Detection rates of both tigers and potential prey species varied considerably between protected areas over the study period. Our findings suggest heterogeneity in tiger distribution across this relatively continuous landscape, potentially influenced by distribution of key prey species. This study indicates that the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex is one of the few remaining breeding locations of the Indochinese tiger. Despite limitations posed by our study design, our findings have catalysed increased research and conservation interest in this globally important population at a critical time for tiger conservation in South-east Asia.
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Despite its high risk of extinction in the wild, little is known about the ecology and population status of mainland clouded leopards (Neofelis nebulosa). We used camera-traps and spatial capture-recapture analysis to estimate mainland clouded leopard density within southern Thailand's Khlong Saeng – Khao Sok Forest Complex, comparing densities in two zones of the forest with different levels of relative human access and poaching pressure (core and edge). Over 5242 trap-days, we detected at least 27 mainland clouded leopards, including 12 females and 15 males. Model averaged density in the less accessible core zone (5.06 ± SE 1.64/100 km²) was 62% higher compared to the more accessible and more heavily hunted edge zone (3.13 ± SE 1.05/100 km²). This density difference corresponded to a 56% higher occupancy probability of muntjacs (Muntiacus spp.) in the core zone, a potentially important prey species for clouded leopards. Model averaged movements (sigma) of male clouded leopards were 38% larger (3448 m; SE 551 m) than female movements (2502 m; SE 478 m). Mainland clouded leopard density at our study site was among the highest recorded in South and Southeast Asia (range: 0.40 to 5.14/100 km²). We hypothesize this high density might be related to the extirpation of larger sympatric carnivores. Our study provides important baseline information for monitoring the conservation status of mainland clouded leopards in Thailand and Southeast Asia and offers insights into the species' behavioral ecology and capacity to adapt to human disturbance.
Preprint
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Melanism is a form of pigmentation polymorphism where individuals have darker coloration than what is considered the wild phenotype. In the case of leopards, Panthera pardus, melanism occurs at higher frequencies amongst populations in tropical and subtropical moist forests of south and southeast Asia, presenting a unique challenge in estimating and monitoring these populations. Unlike the wild phenotype that are readily recognizable by their rosette patterns, melanism results in individuals being unidentifiable or unmarked through photographic captures obtained using white flash cameras. Spatial mark-resight (SMR) models that require only a subset of the population to be marked offer the opportunity to estimate population density. In this study, we present an application of SMR models to estimate leopard densities using camera trap survey data from three sampling sessions at Manas National Park (MNP), India. By using an SMR model that allowed us to include captures of unidentified sightings of marked individuals, we were also able to incorporate captures where identity was either not confirmed or only known from a single flank. Following 18,674 trap-days of sampling across three sessions, we obtained 728 leopard photo-captures, of which 22.6% (165) were melanistic. We estimated leopard densities of 4.33, 2.61and 3.37 individuals/100km2 across the three sessions. To our best knowledge, these represent the first known estimates of leopard densities from such populations. Finally, we highlight that SMR models present an opportunity to revisit past camera trap survey data for leopards and other species that exhibit phenotypic polymorphism towards generating valuable information on populations.
Article
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Large protected areas are essential for the long-term conservation of wide-ranging or low-density large carnivore populations. However, small protected areas can also contribute to carnivore conservation if they have sufficient prey density, if wildlife crime is controlled and if they are connected to other protected areas and/or embedded within a larger matrix of at least partially suitable habitat. In the central highlands of Sri Lanka, the 31.6 km² Horton Plains National Park is a mosaic of tropical montane cloud forest and patana grassland set within a mosaic landscape of forest and agriculture. We conducted a camera trapping study in 2017 and 2018 to estimate leopard densities and predict their activity centers. A Bayesian multi-session spatially-explicit capture-recapture analysis of 249 independent captures across two 4-month camera trapping campaigns returned density estimates of 10.6 per 100 km² (95% HDI = 8.0–16.0) in 2017 and 15.1 per 100 km² (95% HDI = 13.3–18.7) in 2018. Female capture rates and activity centers remained stable over the two survey periods, indicating fidelity to the grasslands. In contrast, most male activity centers were predicted to fall outside of the park, which implied that a significant proportion of males’ activity occurred outside HPNP, likely with occasional returns to the prey-dense grassland area. As a result, HPNP is unlikely to be sufficient on its own to sustain the estimated leopard densities—particularly for males—without contribution from the surrounding landscape. Thus, although the Department of Wildlife Conservation maintains jurisdiction over wildlife anywhere in the country, interagency collaboration in research, management and conservation should be encouraged owing to multiple jurisdictions over land management that will affect habitat suitability for leopards. Finally, we highlight the potential benefits of maintaining an updated camera-trap database for outreach and potential conflict management.
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We investigate livestock predation by the common leopard (Panthera pardus) and emerging conflicts between this species, local people, and wildlife authorities at the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary in the Himalayan region of India. We scrutinized secondary data that were collected by wildlife authorities; we also conducted informal interviews of villagers living within sanctuary, and wildlife staff to understand various human–leopard conflicts. Leopard density was approximately 0.33/km2 in the sanctuary. Leopards killed 1,763 domestic animals, about 90% of which were cattle, during a 14-year period. Within the sanctuary, leopards killed 1 person and injured 9 others. This high depredation rate may be due to many factors, including low density of wild prey species in the sanctuary. The high level of livestock depredation by leopards in and around the sanctuary has caused severe conflicts.
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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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