Ecology of Leopard (Panthera pardus)in relation to prey abundance and land use pattern in Kashmir valley.
Globally, leopard (Panthera pardus) is the most widely distributed and persecuted cat amongst large cat species. In India, it largely coexists with other feline species like the tiger (Panthera tigris) across much of its distribution range and with lion (Panthera leo) and clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) in certain areas of its distribution range. In Kashmir Himalaya it is at the top of the food chain and an apex predator that aids in regulating prey populations. However, there has been an increase in the human-leopard conflicts in the valley which is worsening the conservation prospects of this threatened felid. Funded by Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, this study was initiated with the major objectives including the study of spatial and feeding ecology of leopards. For understanding the spatial ecology, the leopards were radio collared to find their home range, activity and movement pattern. The foraging ecology of this animal was studied using scat analysis methodology. Camera trapping was also used to study population and activity pattern of leopards. This was first of its kind study on leopards in Kashmir valley and yielded some important information that can help in conservation and management of the species and its prey in the area.
Funding Agency: Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India
Researchers: Athar Noor, Zaffar Rais Mir