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Harris, R., “Wild ungulate surveys in grassland habitats: Satisfying methodological assumptions”, Chinese Journal of Zoology 2 (31): 16-21, 1996.

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Article

Prey Density and Diet of Snow Leopard (Uncia Uncia) In Shey Phoksundo National Park, Nepal

1Tribhuvan University, Institute of Forestry, Pokhara, Nepal

2Associate Professor, Masaryk University, Czech Republic


Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences. 2013, Vol. 1 No. 4, 55-60
DOI: 10.12691/aees-1-4-4
Copyright © 2013 Science and Education Publishing

Cite this paper:
Bishnu Prasad Devkota, Thakur Silwal, Jaromir Kolejka. Prey Density and Diet of Snow Leopard (Uncia Uncia) In Shey Phoksundo National Park, Nepal. Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences. 2013; 1(4):55-60. doi: 10.12691/aees-1-4-4.

Correspondence to: Bishnu Prasad Devkota, Tribhuvan University, Institute of Forestry, Pokhara, Nepal. Email: devkotabishnu@yahoo.com

Abstract

The food habit of the snow leopard (Uncia uncia) is not always according to the availability of its prey species. The aim of the study was to estimate wild prey densities in Shey-Phoksundo National Park in relation to diet composition. In addition, the study sought to determine livestock depredation status and its frequency of occurrence in the diet of snow leopards. Population density of blue sheep (Pseudois nayaur) was estimated by vantage point count methods. Densities of other wild prey species were estimated through line transect methods and analyzed via the DISTANCE 6.0 program. Household surveys (n=250) were conducted to determine livestock numbers and frequency of depredation. Scats (n=40) were analyzed through micro histolysis to determine the diet composition of snow leopards. Himalayan marmots (Marmota himalayana) had the highest density (132.6 animals/ km2), while blue sheep had a density of 2.3 animals/ km2. Most local inhabitants were subsistence farmers, many dependent upon local livestock breeds, with an average holding of 32.6 animals/ household. There was a loss of 3.6 animals/ household annually, with a total depredation rate of 11.1%. Annual loss to snow leopards averaged 1.6 animals/ household and this was the major source of mortality. Blue sheep was the major prey item, with a 30% occurrence in the snow leopard diet. Among the livestock, sheep was the major prey item with a 15% frequency of occurrence in the scat. Food habits of snow leopard were independent of the density of its prey species; there was no proportional relationship between the prey density and the diet of snow leopards.

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