European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 57, Issue 5, pp 1077–1083 | Cite as

Food habits of the snow leopard Panthera uncia (Schreber, 1775) in Baltistan, Northern Pakistan

  • Muhammad Bilal Anwar
  • Rodney Jackson
  • Muhammad Sajid Nadeem
  • Jan E. Janečka
  • Shafqat Hussain
  • Mirza Azhar Beg
  • Ghulam Muhammad
  • Mazhar Qayyum
Original Paper

Abstract

The snow leopard (Panthera uncia) inhabits the high, remote mountains of Pakistan from where very little information is available on prey use of this species. Our study describes the food habits of the snow leopard in the Himalayas and Karakoram mountain ranges in Baltistan, Pakistan. Ninety-five putrid snow leopard scats were collected from four sites in Baltistan. Of these, 49 scats were genetically confirmed to have originated from snow leopards. The consumed prey was identified on the basis of morphological characteristics of hairs recovered from the scats. It was found that most of the biomass consumed (70%) was due to domestic livestock viz. sheep (23%), goat (16%), cattle (10%), yak (7%), and cattle–yak hybrids (14%). Only 30% of the biomass was due to wild species, namely Siberian ibex (21%), markhor (7%), and birds (2%). Heavy predation on domestic livestock appeared to be the likely cause of conflict with the local inhabitants. Conservation initiatives should focus on mitigating this conflict by minimizing livestock losses.

Keywords

Himalayas Karakoram Scat Diet Hair Livestock Biomass 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We recognize that this research would not have been possible without the financial, technical, and logistic support of the Baltistan Wildlife Conservation and Development Organization (BWCDO) and Snow Leopard Conservancy (SLC); we express our gratitude to these organizations.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muhammad Bilal Anwar
    • 1
  • Rodney Jackson
    • 2
  • Muhammad Sajid Nadeem
    • 1
  • Jan E. Janečka
    • 3
  • Shafqat Hussain
    • 4
  • Mirza Azhar Beg
    • 1
  • Ghulam Muhammad
    • 5
  • Mazhar Qayyum
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyPMAS-Arid Agriculture UniversityRawalpindiPakistan
  2. 2.Snow Leopard ConservancySonomaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Veterinary Integrative BiosciencesTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  4. 4.Trinity CollegeHartfordUSA
  5. 5.Baltistan Wildlife Conservation and Development Organization (Reg.)SkarduPakistan

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