Leopard-prey balance will help cut people’s economic losses, says study

New scientific studies reveal that there is a need to maintain balance between leopard and its wildlife prey population.

Published: 25th November 2019 04:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th November 2019 04:31 AM   |  A+A-

Research says that 90 % of leopard diet composes of primates or wild ungulate herbivores | HARSHA NARASImHAMURTHY

Express News Service

BENGALURU: New scientific studies reveal that there is a need to maintain a balance between the leopard and its wildlife prey population. Otherwise, people living in wildlife landscapes may suffer financial losses. Research has established that nearly 90 per cent of leopard diet was composed of primates or wild ungulate herbivores while non-wild prey including cattle and free-ranging dogs accounted for less than 3 per cent.

Scientists from the Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS) and the University of Florida studied various factors that enable and restrain the co-occurrence of people and big cats in shared landscapes. And they say this new understanding of carnivore ecology and recognising the benefits that leopard presence offers, could help in managing their populations and helping people to live peacefully on forest fringes.  

The patterns and drivers of leopard occurrence and livestock/human attacks were determined by conservation ecologists Mahi Puri, Arjun Srivathsa,  Krithi Karanth, Imran Patel and N  Samba Kumar which was published in the international journal ‘Ecological Indicators’. Mahi Puri, the lead author of this paper, says, “Our study provides evidence for maintaining forest cover and prey- abundance as crucial to ensuring leopard persistence in the landscape. An important management implication is that an imbalance caused by the decline in either leopard or wild prey populations could result in an increase in crop loss (to wild herbivores) or livestock depredation (by leopards) respectively, ensuing financial losses to local residents.” 

Krithi Karanth, Chief Conservation Scientist, CWS, adds, “Leopards’ co-occurrence amongst people is well known, but they are increasingly being persecuted in rural and urban areas. An informed understanding of carnivore ecology offers in human-dominated landscapes could help in managing their populations and in facilitating coexistence 
with people.” 
Researchers evaluated the role of wild prey in leopard diet and the extent to which prey offset leopard attacks on domestic livestock. 

Follow The New Indian Express channel on WhatsApp


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp