N° 67 | Spring 2018
CATnews 67 Spring 2018
CATnews is the newsletter of the Cat Specialist Group,
a component of the Species Survival Commission SSC of the
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It is pub-
lished twice a year, and is available to members and the Friends of
the Cat Group.
For joining the Friends of the Cat Group please contact
Christine Breitenmoser at firstname.lastname@example.org
Original contributions and short notes about wild cats are welcome
Send contributions and observations to
Guidelines for authors are available at www.catsg.org/catnews
CATnews is produced with financial assistance from the
Friends of the Cat Group.
Design: barbara surber, werk’sdesign gmbh
Layout: Christine Breitenmoser and Tabea Lanz
Print: Stämpfli Publikationen AG, Bern, Switzerland
ISSN 1027-2992 © IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group
Editors: Christine & Urs Breitenmoser
Cat Specialist Group
KORA, Thunstrasse 31, 3074 Muri,
Tel ++41(31) 951 90 20
Fax ++41(31) 951 90 40
Associate Editors: Keith Richmond
Cover Photo: Amur leopard
Photo Emmanuel Rondeau
The designation of the geographical entities in this publication, and the representation of the material, do not imply the expression of any
opinion whatsoever on the part of the IUCN concerning the legal status of any country, territory, or area, or its authorities, or concerning the
delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.
CATnews 67 Spring 2018
Felidchina & Wild Ganzi. 2016. Who is stronger?
Common Leopard Panthera pardus and Snow
Leopard Panthera uncia. Available from http://
czsJQ (Accessed on 1 November 2017).
Guo K. J., Lu P. F., Shi S. C.,Tang Z. J., Zhang T., Xiong
J. W., Li B. Z. & Deng X. J. 2016. Camera trapping
survey of mammals and birds in Luolong, Tibet.
Biodiversity Science 24, 1077-1081.
Jackson R., Mallom D., Mishra C., Noras S., Shar-
ma R. & Suryawanshi K. 2014. Snow Leopard
Network. Snow Leopard Survival Strategy Re-
vised Version 2014. 8.
Jacobson A. P., Gerngross P., Lemeris J. R., Schoo-
nover R., Anco C., Breitenmoser-Würsten C.,
Durant S., Farhadinia M. S., Henschel P., Kam-
Site Elevation Species Independent captures Adult individuals captured
Yunta 4167m SL 6 2
CL 2 1
Niandu 4045m SL 11 3
CL 5 2
4119m SL 5 2
CL 2 1
Table 1. Detailed information on occurrence of common leopard CL and snow leopard
SL captured in Niandu and Yunta Village.
ler J., Laguardia A., Rostro-Garcia S., Stein A.
B. & Dollar L. 2016. Leopard Panthera pardus
status, distribution, and the research efforts
across its range. PeerJ 4:e1974; DOI 10.7717/
Laguardia A. 2015. Distribution, status and mo-
nitoring strategies of the Leopard Panthera
pardus in China. PhD Thesis. Beijing Forestry
Lovari S., Ventimiglia M. & Minder I. 2013a. Food
habits of two leopard species, competition, cli-
mate change and upper treeline: a way to the
decrease of an endangered species? Ethology
Ecology & Evolution 25, 305-318.
Lovari S., Minder I., Ferretti F., Mucci N., Randi E. &
Pellizzi B. 2013b. Common and snow leopards
share prey, but not habitats: competition avo-
idance by large predators? Journal of Zoology
Mccarthy T., Mallon D., Jackson R., Zahler P.
& Mccarthy K. 2017. Panthera uncia. IUCN
Red Lisst of Threatened Species 2017:e.
Downloaded on 06 December 2017.
O'Brien T., Kinnaird M. F. & Wibision H. T. 2003.
Crouching tigers, hidden prey: Sumatran tiger
and prey populations in a tropical forest lands-
cape. Animal Conservation 6, 131-139.
Stein A. B., Athreya V., Gerngross P., Balme G., Hen-
schel P., Karanth U., Miquelle D., Rostro-Garcia
S., Kamler J. F., Laguardia A., Khorozyan I. &
Ghoddousi A. 2016. Panthera pardus. (errata ver-
sion published in 2016)The IUCN Red List of Thre-
atened Species 2016: e.T15954A102421779.
RLTS.T15954A50659089.en. Downloaded on 06
1 Shan Shui Conservation Center, Beijing 100871, China
2 Snow Leopard Trust, Seattle, WA, USA
3 Peking University Center for Nature and Socie-
ty, Beijing 100871, China
DIBYENDU MANDAL1, DIBYADEEP CHATTERJEE1, QAMAR QURESHI1 AND K SANKAR2*
Behavioural observations on
interaction of leopard and
striped hyena, western India
Interspecific interactions are crucial for community composition since they govern
species distribution, abundance and broadly species coexistence. Interspecific in-
teractions among carnivores have been well studied in India. However, these were
limited to a few species only and direct observations are rare. Studies on interspeci-
fic interaction between two sympatric carnivores such as leopard and striped hyena
with a wide distribution range throughout peninsular India are rare. We report two in-
stances of interactions between leopard Panthera pardus and striped hyena Hyaena
hyaena. In one instance, a leopard and a striped hyena were photographed feeding
together on an adult nilgai Boselaphus tragocamelus kill of a tigress Panthera tigris.
We have also recorded a breeding female leopard that killed a striped hyena (sub-
adult female) at a den site. We report here photographic evidence on these interac-
tions between leopard and striped hyena for the first time.
striped hyena for food and shelter. As striped
hyena and leopard are both generalists, their
diet niches also overlap considerably (Ari-
vazhagan 2005). Many instances of striped
hyena chasing leopards from their prey have
been recorded (Pocock 1941, Prater 1965).
We present two different observations of
leopard and striped hyena interaction. We
located an adult nilgai kill of a tigress in the
morning of 4 April 2015 in Sariska Tiger Re-
serve (76°17’ to 76°34’ E / 27°5' to 27°33' N),
which is situated in the semi-arid region of
western India. The tigress consumed hardly
20% of the kill and left it. We deployed ca-
mera traps to understand visitation by other
co-predators at the kill. A leopard, possibly
a female and a striped hyena have been ca-
mera trapped feeding together on the same
carcass. The leopard came first to the kill
and started feeding on it. The striped hy-
ena appeared at 19:56 h encircling the kill,
which hyenas often do when they approach a
conspecific at a feeding site (Supporting On-
line Material SOM Figure F1a). They fed on
the carcass for 10 minutes without showing
any kind of aggression (Fig. 1a & SOM F1b).
Leopard and striped hyena largely coexist
with tiger in most of its distribution range in
the Indian sub-continent. Although leopard is
a predator, it sometimes demonstrates op-
portunistic behaviour and scavenges on tiger
kills (Prater 1965). Leopard interaction with
tiger has been well documented. However,
literature on leopard interaction with striped
hyena is limited. Heptner & Sludjkij (1982)
had suggested that leopard competes with
CATnews 67 Spring 2018
Kleptoparasitism has been reported in leo-
pards. However, striped hyena and leopard
feeding together has been recorded for the
first time to our knowledge. We continued
camera trapping for a few days and searched
for any evidence of aggressive interaction,
but we did not find anything. Later the ti-
gress came back to the kill and consumed it
In another incident, a leopard with two cubs
killed a striped hyena in Sariska Tiger Re-
serve on 24 December 2014. The killed hye-
na was from a breeding clan. The clan con-
sisted of a breeding female, two sub-adult
helpers and three pups. Sub-adult striped
hyenas babysit for their mother at dens and
ensure the survival of young pups (Jhala
2013). They can be fatal for young leopards.
Their den site was inside the leopard’s home
range. The leopard detected the den and la-
ter killed the helper striped hyena possibly to
protect her cubs from any potential danger
(Fig. 2a, b & SOM F2). We found the carcass
of the striped hyena next to the den. Initial ex-
amination of bite marks and indirect evidence
such as pugmarks revealed that the hyena
was killed by a leopard. However, the carcass
was left untouched. Consequently, the clan
left the den site after the loss of the female
sub-adult helper hyena.
Sariska Tiger Reserve has a healthy popula-
tion of both leopard (Mondal et al. 2012) and
striped hyena (Gupta et al. 2009) and a rein-
troduced tiger population. The reserve has an
excellent prey base to sustain its carnivore
population (Gupta et al. 2009). Both leopard
and striped hyena can survive in human-dom-
inated landscapes (Athreya 2010), and their
body weight and ecological requirements are
similar. Direct observations of interspecific
interaction between leopards and striped
hyenas are rare. Our observation will certain-
ly add to the limited existing knowledge of
this subject. We recommend further detailed
studies for the conservation of these two
We would like to thank Rajasthan Forest Depart-
ment for necessary permissions for the project.
We thank the Director, Dean and Research Coor-
dinator of the Wildlife Institute of India for facili-
tating the project work and for their support. We
also thank Parag Nigam and P. K. Malik for their
encouragement. Sariska Tiger Reserve staff and
our field assistants Ratan, Rajesh, Mamraj and
Jairam are also thanked for their help in the field.
Arivazhagan C., Arumugam. R. & Thiyagesan K.
2007. Food habits of leopard (Panthera pardus
fusca), dhole (Cuon alpinus) and striped hyena
(Hyaena hyaena) in a tropical dry thorn forest
of southern India. Journal of the Bombay Natu-
ral History Society 105, 178-187.
Athreya V., Odden M., Linnell J. D. C., Krishnas-
wamy J. & Karanth U. 2013. Big Cats in Our
Backyards: Persistence of Large Carnivores
Fig. 1. Camera trap photographs showing (a) leopard and striped hyena feeding together and (b) tigress approaching her kill after
the leopard and the striped hyena left (Photos K. Sankar/WII).
in a Human Dominated Landscape in India.
PLoS ONE 8, 3, e57872. doi:10.1371/journal.
Gupta S., Mondal K., Sankar, K. & Qureshi. Q. 2009.
Estimation of Striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena)
population using camera trap in Sariska Tiger
Reserve, Rajasthan, India. Journal of Bombay
Natural History Society 106, 284-288.
Heptner V. G. & Sludskii A. A. 1992. Mammals of
the Soviet Union Vol. II Part 2. Carnivora: hya-
enas and cats. E. J. Brill, Leiden, Netherlands.
Jhala Y. V. 2013. STRIPED HYENA (Hyaena hyaena).
In Mammals of South Asia. Johnsingh A. J. T.,
Manjrekar N. (Eds). Universities Press, Hydera-
bad, India. pp. 522-530.
Mondal K., Sankar K., Qureshi Q., Gupta S. &
Chourasia, P. 2012. Estimation of population
and survivorship of leopard Panthera pardus
through photographic capture-recapture sam-
pling in Western India. World Journal of Zoo-
logy 7, 30-39.
Pocock R. I. 1941. The fauna of British India. Mam-
malia II Taylor and Francis, London.
Prater S. H. 1948. The book of Indian animals. 1st
ed. Oxford University Press, New Delhi, India.
Supporting Online Material Figures SOM F1a, b
and F2 are available at www.catsg.org.
1 Wildlife Institute of India, Chandrabani, Dehra-
dun, India 248001
2 Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural Hi-
story, Anaikatty, Coimbatore, India 641108
Fig. 2. a) Leopard investigating the den site of striped hyenas, b) female sub-adult striped hyena carcass and the same hyena in front
of the den (Photos K. Sankar/WII).
interactions of leopard and striped hyena, India
Mandal D., Chatterjee D., Qureshi Q. & Sankar K. 2018. Behavioural observations on
interaction of leopard and striped hyena, western India. Cat News 67, 20-21. Supporting
SOM F1. Camera trap photographs showing a) leopard at and striped
hyena approaching the kill and b) feeding together (Photos K.
SOM F2. Leopards close to the densite (indicated by red circle) of
triped hyenas (Photo K. Sankar/WII).