Cats, canines, and coexistence: dietary differentiation between the sympatric Snow Leopard and Grey Wolf in the western landscape of Nepal Himalaya

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Anil Shrestha
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9136-6152
Kanchan Thapa
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3838-2804
Samundra Ambuhang Subba
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9906-014X
Maheshwar Dhakal
https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1877-3645
Bishnu Prasad Devkota
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1160-9255
Gokarna Jung Thapa
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3426-9302
Sheren Shrestha
https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0969-5294
Sabita Malla
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4529-5100
Kamal Thapa
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7275-2824

Abstract

Understanding the dietary habits of sympatric apex carnivores advances our knowledge of ecological processes and aids their conservation. We compared the diets of the sympatric Snow Leopard Panthera uncia and Grey Wolf Canis lupus using standard micro-histological analyses of scats collected from the western complex of Nepal Himalaya. Our study revealed one of the highest recorded contributions of livestock to the diet of top predators (55% for Grey Wolf and 39% for Snow Leopard) and high dietary overlap (0.82) indicating potential exploitative or interference competition. Their diet composition, however, varied significantly based on their consumption of wild and domestic prey. Limitation in data precludes predicting direction and outcome of inter-specific interactions between these predators. Our findings suggest a high rate of negative interaction with humans in the region and plausibly retaliatory killings of these imperilled predators. To ensure the sustained survival of these two apex carnivores, conservation measures should enhance populations of their wild prey species while reducing livestock losses of the local community through preventive and mitigative interventions.

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How to Cite
[1]
Shrestha, A., Thapa, K., Subba, S.A., Dhakal, M., Devkota, B.P., Thapa, G.J., Shrestha, S., Malla, S. and Thapa, K. 2019. Cats, canines, and coexistence: dietary differentiation between the sympatric Snow Leopard and Grey Wolf in the western landscape of Nepal Himalaya. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 11, 7 (May 2019), 13815–13821. DOI:https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.4217.11.7.13815-13821.
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