Leopard (Panthera pardus) Prey/Diet Studies

Joined: 7:29 AM - Feb 11, 2012

10:00 AM - Mar 02, 2018 #1

Journal Reference:
Hayward, M. W., Henschel, P., O'Brien, J., Hofmeyr, M., Balme, G. and Kerley, G. I. H. (2006), Prey preferences of the leopard (Panthera pardus). Journal of Zoology, 270: 298–313. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.2006.00139.x
Reddhole wrote:Leopard

Here is the study:


Here is the abstract:

Leopards Panthera pardus have a catholic diet and are generally thought to prey
on medium-sized ungulates; however, knowledge on which species are actually
preferred and avoided is lacking, along with an understanding of why such
preferences arise. Twenty-nine published and four unpublished studies of leopard
diet that had relative prey abundance estimates associated with them were
analysed from 13 countries in 41 different spatial locations or temporal periods
throughout the distribution of the leopard. A Jacobs’ index value was calculated
for each prey species in each study and the mean of these was then tested against a
mean of 0 using t or sign tests for preference or avoidance. Leopards preferentially
prey upon species within a weight range of 10–40 kg. Regression plots suggest that
the most preferred mass of leopard prey is 25 kg, whereas the mean body mass of
significantly preferred prey is 23 kg. Leopards prefer prey within this body mass
range, which occur in small herds, in dense habitat and afford the hunter minimal
risk of injury during capture. Consequently, impala, bushbuck and common
duiker are significantly preferred, with chital likely to also be preferred with a
larger sample size from Asian sites. Species outside the preferred weight range are
generally avoided, as are species that are restricted to open vegetation or that have
sufficient anti-predator strategies. The ratio of mean leopard body mass with that
of their preferred prey is less than 1 and may be a reflection of their solitary hunting
This model will allow us to predict the diet of leopards in areas where
dietary information is lacking, also providing information to assist wildlife
managers and conservation bodies on predator carrying capacity and predator–
prey interactions.

Here are the details on the specific prey species. Species with a small + or - next to them have enough data to be "statistically significant" (i.e. baboon, buffalo, bushbuck, etc.).

and a summary:

Full PDF: http://www.zbs.bialowieza.pl/g2/pdf/1596.pdf

Joined: 7:29 AM - Feb 11, 2012

10:29 AM - Mar 02, 2018 #2

This study focusses on one subspecies of Leopard, the Indochinese leopard (Panthera pardus delacouri), and is impressive based on the following: "The overall main prey (42% BC) was banteng (Bos javanicus), making this the only known leopard population whose main prey had adult weight greater than 500 kg." The figure is inflated by the methodology, but is still a very highpredator/prey ratio. Even if as predicted predation is focussed on calves, it is an impressive figure:

Journal Reference:
Susana Rostro-García, Jan F. Kamler, Rachel Crouthers, Keo Sopheak, Sovanna Prum, Visattha In, Chanratana Pin, Anthony Caragiulo, David W. Macdonald An adaptable but threatened big cat: density, diet and prey selection of the Indochinese leopard (Panthera pardus delacouri) in eastern Cambodia Published 7 February 2018.DOI: 10.1098/rsos.171187

We studied the Indochinese leopard (Panthera pardus delacouri) in eastern Cambodia, in one of the few potentially remaining viable populations in Southeast Asia. The aims were to determine the: (i) current leopard density in Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary (SWS) and (ii) diet, prey selection and predation impact of leopard in SWS. The density, estimated using spatially explicit capture–recapture models, was 1.0 leopard/100 km2, 72% lower than an estimate from 2009 at the same site, and one of the lowest densities ever reported in Asia. Dietary analysis of 73 DNA confirmed scats showed leopard consumed 13 prey species, although ungulates comprised 87% of the biomass consumed (BC). The overall main prey (42% BC) was banteng (Bos javanicus), making this the only known leopard population whose main prey had adult weight greater than 500 kg. Consumption of wild pig (Sus scrofa) was also one of the highest ever reported (22% BC), indicating leopard consistently predated on ungulates with some of the largest adult weights in SWS. There were important differences in diet and prey selection between sexes, as males consumed mostly banteng (62% BC) in proportion to availability, but few muntjac (Muntiacus vaginalis; 7% BC), whereas females selectively consumed muntjac (56% BC) and avoided banteng (less than 1% BC). Predation impact was low (0.5–3.2% of populations) for the three ungulate species consumed. We conclude that the Indochinese leopard is an important apex predator in SWS, but this unique population is declining at an alarming rate and will soon be eradicated unless effective protection is provided.

Figure 2. Jacob's electivity index (D) of the biomass of ungulates consumed by the Indochinese leopard (Panthera pardus delacouri) in SWS, Cambodia.

Figure 4. Biomass of ungulates consumed by male and female Indochinese leopard (Panthera pardus delacouri) compared to biomass available in SWS, Cambodia.

http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/ ... 7.full.pdf