Assessment of human–leopard conflict in Machiara National Park, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan

Abstract

Livestock depredation by leopards is one of the key conservation issues in landscapes with limited resources worldwide. Any attempts to mitigate human–leopard conflict and conserve the species in conflict should be based on an unequivocal understanding of the conflict patterns. A household survey was conducted with an intention to quantify livestock losses resulting from depredation by leopards in and around the Machiara National Park, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan. A total of 301 livestock were killed between June 2007 and August 2008 by leopards. The extent of loss varied in different months, with maximum killing occurring in the month of May. Small-bodied livestock such as goats and sheep were more vulnerable than large-bodied cattle. Goats were killed in significantly higher numbers as compared to other livestock. Domestic animals were killed more frequently at night as compared to other times of the day. There was a significant effect of the nighttime protection measures on depredation. Most attacks happened in valleys and in areas far from the forests. Factors most closely associated with livestock depredation included decline of natural prey, herding practices, guarding especially during the nighttime, and repeated use of pastures where predators were known to be hunting actively. Attitudes of the local community towards leopards were largely negative, and further efforts should be made to improve support for carnivore conservation. We suggest widespread local community education and proactive human–leopard conflict management, particularly through adopting carnivore-friendly livestock protection measures.

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Acknowledgments

The AJ&K wildlife & Fisheries department has always been supportive of my work and I would like to thank all the officers and staff of Machiara National Park. We are also thankful to, Dr. Kouhstobh Sharma, Dr. Richard Bischof and Matthias Waltert for provision of the early drafts of the manuscript and Doost Ali Nawaz (SLF) for developing map.

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Correspondence to Muhammad Kabir.

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Communicated by C. Gortázar

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Kabir, M., Ghoddousi, A., Awan, M.S. et al. Assessment of human–leopard conflict in Machiara National Park, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan. Eur J Wildl Res 60, 291–296 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10344-013-0782-z

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Keywords

  • Leopard
  • Panthera pardus
  • Livestock depredation
  • Conflict
  • Himalayan ecosystem
  • Machiara National Park
  • Pakistan