Title: Predation Patterns and Hunting Behaviour of Snow Leopards: Insights from an Ibex Hunt
Author: Johansson, O., Nyam, E., Lkhagvajav, P., Alexander, J. A., Samelius, G.
Abstract: The hunting behaviours of the snow leopard (Panthera uncia) are poorly understood. In this note, we describe the successful hunt of an adult male ibex (Capra sibirica) by a known male snow leopard in Tost Mountains, Mongolia. The hunt started in a mountain slope close to three large boulders and progressed downhill for 115 m until it concluded at the bottom of a drainage. By comparing the habitat where the ibex was killed to the kill sites of 158 ibex and 17 argali (Ovis ammon) that were killed by GPS-collared snow leopards, we demonstrate that the majority (62%) of these kills occurred in drainages. We propose that in successful hunts, snow leopards commonly ambush from above, causing prey individuals to typically flee downhill. Thereby the prey maintain their momentum and it is not until they are slowed down upon reaching the bottom of the drainage that the snow leopards are able to subdue them.