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Mammalian Biology

, Volume 69, Issue 6, pp 384–391 | Cite as

Prey selection by the Indian tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) in Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve, India

  • Harsha S. Reddy
  • C. Srinivasulu
  • K. Thulsi Rao
Original investigation

Abstract

Very Little is known about prey selection by the Indian tiger Panthera tigris tigris in tropical dry deciduous forests or in wild herbivore-depleted habitats with high livestock pressures. We undertook a short-term study in a large south Indian tiger reserve and examined two intensive study areas (SA’s) from October 1998-June 1999. In each area, herbivore sightings were recorded, scats were collected, and wild prey and livestock kills documented. Chital, wild boar and sambar were the most abundant among the wild herbivores in the study area. Scat analysis revealed wild boar (Sus scro-fa) being the most common prey followed by chital (Axis axis) and sambar (Rusa unicolor). Livestock comprised less than 7% of diet intake. Here, the tigers consumed a lower mean prey mass (56.3 kg) than in other reserves. Our study suggests that in tropical dry deciduous forests with low natural prey density, smaller prey species, and high livestock biomass, tigers preferentially kill smaller prey and generally avoid livestock prédation.

Key words

Panthera tigris tigris prey selection India 

Beuteselektion durch den Indischen Tiger (Panthern tigris tigris) im Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam-Tiger-Reservat, Indien

Zusammenfassung

Der indische Tiger Panthern tigris tigris ist ein höchst anpasungsfähiger Karnivore, der in den unterschiedlichsten Lebensräumen zu überleben vermag. Unsere Vorstellung von dessen Freßverhalten basiert jedoch hauptsächlich auf Arbeiten in relativ unberührten Reservaten mit einer hohen Beutedichte. Hingegen ist fast nichts bekannt über Tiger in trockenen Laubwäldern der Tropen oder solche in Lebensräumen, welche arm an Pflanzenfressern sind und deshalb einen hohen Druck durch den vorhandenen Viehbestand besitzen. Um das Freßverhalten von Tigern unter diesen Bedingungen zu untersuchen, führten wir eine Studie in einem großen südindischen Tigerreservat durch, in dem sich die Population an Tigern seit 1990 verringert hat. Unsere Forschungsarbeit deckte zwei intensive Studiengebiete (study areas, SA’s) von Oktober 1998 bis Juni 1999 ab. In jedem Gebiet (SA) wurde Kot gesammelt, die Anzahl von toten Beute- und restlichen Wildtieren bestimmt und Sichtungen von Pflanzenfressern aufgezeichnet. Von 400 gesammelten Tigerkotresten wurden 80 untersucht. Diese Analyse zeigte, daß Wildschweine (Sus scrofa) die häufigsten Beutetiere in beiden SA’s waren (38% in SA I, 28% in SA II), gefolgt von Axis- (Axis axis: 17%, 26%) und Sambar-Hirschen (Cervus unicolor: 28%, 10%). Der restliche Viehbestand machte weniger als 7% der Kotreste in jeder SA aus. Die am häufigsten gesichteten wildlebenden Pflanzenfresser waren Axishirsche (31%), gefolgt von Wildschweinen (21%) und Sambar-Hirschen (19%). Die Tiger im Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam-Ti-ger-Reservat konsumierten durchschnittlich eine geringere Masse and Beutetieren (56.3 kg) als Tiger in anderen Reservaten, wobei auffiel, daß diese in SA I höher war (78.6 kg) als in SA II (43.9 kg). Unsere Studie legt nahe, daß cin trockenen Laubwäldern der Tropen mit einer geringen natürlichen Dichte an Beutetieren, kleineren Beutetieren und einer hohen Biomasse an Viehbestand die Tiger bevorzugt kleinere Beutetiere jagen und den restlichen Viehbestand generell vermeiden. Es mag einen großen Unterschied im Freßverhalten der Tiger innerhalb eines Reservats geben, welche die lokalen Unterschiede in der Zusammensetzung der Beutetierpoulation widerspiegelt. Deshalb hängt das Überleben der Tiger in nicht mehr unberührten trockenen Laubwäldern der indischen Tropen nicht nur von einer Minimierung des Konfliktes zwischen Tiger- und Viehbestand ab, sondern auch von einer Steigerung der Population mittelgroßer Exemplare aus dem natürlichen Beutetierbestand.

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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harsha S. Reddy
    • 1
  • C. Srinivasulu
    • 2
  • K. Thulsi Rao
    • 3
  1. 1.Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Wildlife Biology Section, Department of ZoologyOsmania UniversityHyderabadIndia
  3. 3.Eco Resources Monitoring LabsNagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger ReserveSunnipentaIndia

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