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Bocci, A., Lovari, S., Khan, M. Z., Mori, E. (2017). Sympatric snow leopards and Tibetan wolves: coexistence of large carnivores with human-driven potential competition. European Journal of Wildlife Research, , 1–9.
Abstract: The snow leopard Panthera uncia coexists with the wolf Canis lupus throughout most of its distribution range.
We analysed the food habits of snow leopards and wolves in their sympatric range in the Karakoram mountains of Pakistan. A total of 131 genotyped scats (N = 74, snow leopard; N = 57, Tibetan wolf) were collected during the cold periods (i.e. winter and spring) of 2011 and 2012 in the Hushey valley. Large mammals, i.e. livestock and ibex, accounted for 84.8 and 83.1% of the diet (relative frequency) of the snow leopard and the wolf, respectively. Domestic prey was the staple of the diet of both snow leopards (66.6%) and wolves (75.1%). Ibex Capra ibex, the only wild ungulate in our study area, contributed 18.2 and 16.9%of relative frequencies in the
diets of the snow leopard and the wolf, respectively. In winter, the snowleopard heavily relied on domestic sheep (43.3%) for food, whereas the wolf preyed mainly on domestic goats (43.4%). Differently from other study areas, both snow leopards and wolves showed no apparent prey preference (Jacobs
index: snow leopard min. − 0.098, max. 0.102; Tibetan wolf min. − 0.120, max. 0.03). In human depauperate areas, with livestock and only a few wild prey, should competitive interactions arise, two main scenarios could be expected, with either predator as a winner. In both cases, the best solution
could primarily impinge on habitat restoration, so that a balance could be found between these predators, who have already coexisted for thousands of years.
Chapron, G. (2005). Re-wilding: other projects help carnivores stay wild. Nature, 437, 318.
Abstract: Letter to Nature Editor, in response to: In their plea for bringing Pleistocene wildlife to the New World (“Re-wilding North America” Nature 436, 913–914; 2005), Josh Donlan and colleagues do not discuss successful efforts to ensure long-term survival of large carnivores in Africa and Asia. A few examples are given.
Chen, P., Gao, Y., Lee, A. T. L., Cering, L., Shi, K., Clark, S. G. (2016). Human–carnivore coexistence in Qomolangma (Mt. Everest) Nature Reserve, China: Patterns and compensation. Biological Conservation, (197), 18–26.
Abstract: Livestock depredation by large carnivores is frequently reported in Qomolangma (Mt. Everest) National Nature Reserve, Tibet Autonomous Region of China. Seeking to minimize conflicts, we assessed depredation patterns and ways to upgrade the compensation program. We gathered 9193 conflict records over 2011–2013 to determine the extent and tempo-spatial patterns of the depredation.Weinterviewed 22 local officials and 94 residents to learn their views on depredations and to assess the adequacy of compensation. Data showed that wolves (Canis lupus), lynx (Lynx lynx), and snowleopards (Panthera uncia)were themajor livestock predators. Total livestock
loss accounted for 1.2% of the entire stockholding (n=846,707) in the region. Wolves and lynx tended to take sheep and goats,whereas snowleopards favored yaks and cattle in relation to their proportional abundance. Predation mostly occurred in March through July. Livestock depredation by all predators when combined was best explained by terrain ruggedness and density of small- and large-bodied livestock. Temporal and spatial predation patterns variedamong carnivores.Most respondents (74%) attributed depredation causes to an increase in carnivore abundance. Only 7% blamed lax livestock herding practice for predation losses. Five percent said that
predation was the result of livestock population increases, while 11% had no idea. The compensation scheme was found to be flawed in all aspects—predation verification, application procedure, compensation standard, operational resource allocation, making payment, and other problems. To enhance management for human–carnivore coexistence, we recommend a problem-oriented, integrated, adaptive approach that targets the complex social context of the conflict and addresses the interconnected functions of decision-making process.
Lovari, S., Minder, I., Ferretti, F., Mucci, N., Randi, E., Pellizzi, B. (2013). Common and snow leopards share prey, but not habitats: competition avoidance by large predators. Journal of Zoology, 291, 127–135.
Abstract: Resource exploitation and behavioural interference underlie competition among
carnivores. Competition is reduced by specializing on different prey and/or spatiotemporal
separation, usually leading to different food habits. We predicted that
two closely related species of large cats, the endangered snow leopard and the
near-threatened common leopard, living in sympatry, would coexist through
habitat separation and exploitation of different prey species. In central Himalaya,
we assessed (2006–2010) habitat and diet overlap between these carnivores. The
snow leopard used grassland and shrubland, whereas the common leopard
selected forest. Contrary to our prediction, snow leopard and common leopard
preyed upon similar wild (Himalayan tahr, musk deer) and domestic species (Bos
spp., dogs). Dietary overlap between snow leopard and common leopard was 69%
(yearly), 76% (colder months) and 60% (warmer months). Thus, habitat separation
should be the result of other factors, most likely avoidance of interspecific
aggression. Habitat separation may not always lead to the use of different prey.
Avoidance of interspecific aggression, rather than exploitation of different
resources, could allow the coexistence of potentially competing large predators.
Lovari, S., Ventimiglia, M., Minder, I. (2013). Food habits of two leopard species, competition, climate change and upper treeline: a way to the decrease of an endangered species? Ethology Ecology & Evolution, 25(4), 305–318.
Abstract: For carnivore species, spatial avoidance is one of the evolutionary solutions to
coexist in an area, especially if food habits overlap and body sizes tend to coincide.
We reviewed the diets of two large cats of similar sizes, the endangered snow leopard
(Panthera uncia, 16 studies) and the near-threatened common leopard (Panthera par-
dus, 11 studies), in Asia. These cats share ca 10,000 km2 of their mountainous range,
although snow leopards tend to occur at a significantly higher altitude than common
leopards, the former being a cold-adapted species of open habitats, whereas the latter
is an ecologically flexible one, with a preference for woodland. The spectrum of prey
of common leopards was 2.5 times greater than that of snow leopards, with wild prey
being the staple for both species. Livestock rarely contributed much to the diet. When
the breadth of trophic niches was compared, overlap ranged from 0.83 (weight categories)
to one (main food categories). As these leopard species have approximately
the same size and comparable food habits, one can predict that competition will arise
when they live in sympatry. On mountains, climate change has been elevating the
upper forest limit, where both leopard species occur. This means a habitat increase
for common leopards and a substantial habitat reduction for snow leopards, whose
range is going to be squeezed between the forest and the barren rocky altitudes, with
medium- to long-term undesirable effects on the conservation of this endangered cat
Samelius, G., Suryawanshi, K., Frank, J., Agvaantseren, B., Baasandamba, E., Mijiddorj, T., Johansson, O., Tumursukh, L., Mishra, C. (2020). Keeping predators out: testing fences to reduce livestock depredation at night-time corrals. Oryx, , 1–7.
Abstract: Livestock depredation by large carnivores is a global conservation challenge, and mitigation measures to reduce livestock losses are crucial for the coexistence of large carnivores and people. Various measures are employed to reduce livestock depredation but their effectiveness has rarely been tested. In this study, we tested the effectiveness of tall fences to reduce livestock losses to snow leopards Panthera uncia and wolves Canis lupus at night-time corrals at the winter camps of livestock herders in the Tost Mountains in southern Mongolia. Self-reported livestock losses at the fenced corrals were reduced from a mean loss of 3.9 goats and sheep per family and winter prior to the study to zero losses in the two winters of the study. In contrast, self-reported livestock losses in winter pastures, and during the rest of the year, when herders used different camps, remained high, which indicates that livestock losses were reduced because of the fences, not because of temporal variation in predation pressure. Herder attitudes towards snow leopards were positive and remained positive during the study, whereas attitudes towards wolves, which attacked livestock also in summer when herders moved out on the steppes, were negative and worsened during the study. This study showed that tall fences can be very effective at reducing night-time losses at corrals and we conclude that fences can be an important tool for snow leopard conservation and for facilitating the coexistence of snow leopards and people.