Diet Composition of Leopard in Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park, Nepal
ABSTRACT: Leopards are most common and widely distributed species of big cat. This species can easily survive in human dominated landscapes with considerable conflicts with people. This study attempted to assess the abundance of prey species, diet composition and threats to the survival of Leopard in the Shivapuri-Nagarjung National Park. Prey data were collected through line transect and analysed in term of encounter rate (number/kilometre). Through the survey of 41.064 kilometres line transects recorded Martes flavigula (0.3), Macaca assamensis (0.6), Muntiacus muntjak (0.7), Semnipithecus spp. (0.4), Sus scrofa (0.1) and domestic prey such as Bos taurus (0.4) and Capra aegagrus hircus (0.3). For diet composition, 61 scats collected and analysed revealed 12 species including both wild prey: (Herpestes urva (13.3), Tamiops macclellandii (8.4), Muntiacus muntjak (13.1), Macaca assamensis (1.2), Martes flavigula (7.2), Rattus spp. (Rat), Macaca mulata (3.6), Viverra zibetha (6), Herpestes auropuntatus (3.6), Paguma larvata (12), Lepus nigricollis (1.2) and Sus scrofa (3.6) and domestic prey; Canis lupus familiaris (9.8) and Capra aegagrus hircus (9.8). Forest fire, visitor inflow and other anthropogenic activities were identified as the threats to Leopard habitat. The analysis showed prey abundance in the study area is lower comparing with protected areas in lowland of Nepal. Majority of prey species recorded were sub-optimal species in diet entailing deficiency of medium prey species in the SNNP. Anthropogenic activities need to control and channelize communication mechanism to reduce threats to the survival of Leopard.