Kleptoparasitic interaction between Snow Leopard Panthera uncia and Red Fox Vulpes vulpes suggested by circumstantial evidence in Pin Valley National Park, India

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Tirupathi Rao Golla
Vinita Sharma
Bheemavarapu Kesav Kumar
Ajay Gaur


In the present study, we describe an interspecific kleptoparasitic interaction between two sympatric mammalian carnivores in the high altitudinal Trans-Himalaya region of Himachal Pradesh, India. The study was based on the inferences drawn from the circumstantial evidence (direct and indirect) noticed in the study area in Pin Valley National Park. The inferences from the analysis of the evidence suggested the interaction between a Snow Leopard Panthera uncia, a Red Fox Vulpes vulpes, and a donkey. The arrangement of evidence in a sequential manner suggested that a donkey was killed by a Snow Leopard and a Red Fox stole the food from the carrion of the Snow Leopard’s prey. The Red Fox was killed by the Snow Leopard, which was caught while stealing. The present study represents an example of kleptoparasitic interaction between the Snow Leopard and the Red Fox. This study also proves that such interactions may cost the life of a kleptoparasite and supports the retaliation behaviour of Snow Leopards.

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