An adaptable but threatened big cat: Density, diet and prey selection of the indochinese leopard (Panthera pardus delacouri) in eastern Cambodia
Rostro-García S., Kamler JF., Crouthers R., Sopheak K., Prum S., In V., Pin C., Caragiulo A., Macdonald DW.
© 2018 The Authors. We studied the Indochinese leopard (Panthera pardus delacouri) in eastern Cambodia, in one of the few potentially remaining viable populations in Southeast Asia. The aims were to determine the: (i) current leopard density in Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary (SWS) and (ii) diet, prey selection and predation impact of leopard in SWS. The density, estimated using spatially explicit capture–recapture models, was 1.0 leopard/100km2, 72% lower than an estimate from 2009 at the same site, and one of the lowest densities ever reported in Asia. Dietary analysis of 73 DNA confirmed scats showed leopard consumed 13 prey species, although ungulates comprised 87% of the biomass consumed (BC). The overall main prey (42% BC) was banteng (Bos javanicus), making this the only known leopard population whose main prey had adult weight greater than 500 kg. Consumption of wild pig (Sus scrofa) was also one of the highest ever reported (22% BC), indicating leopard consistently predated on ungulates with some of the largest adult weights in SWS. There were important differences in diet and prey selection between sexes, as males consumed mostly banteng (62% BC) in proportion to availability, but few muntjac (Muntiacus vaginalis; 7% BC), whereas females selectively consumed muntjac (56% BC) and avoided banteng (less than 1% BC). Predation impact was low (0.5–3.2% of populations) for the three ungulate species consumed. We conclude that the Indochinese leopard is an important apex predator in SWS, but this unique population is declining at an alarming rate and will soon be eradicated unless effective protection is provided.