Snow leopards have a narrow diet spectrum and tend to prefer mountain ungulates, even where this prey is much less abundant than livestock. This feature makes the snow leopard particularly sensitive to human-induced local depletion of wild prey, as retaliatory killing by herders can exert a heavy toll on snow leopards' feeding on domestic ungulates. In this paper we report on survival of this cat in areas where its natural prey supply has been depleted by humans: the Sagarmatha National Park, Nepal, and the Spiti Valley, India, where snow leopards and their prey have been monitored for 8 and 15 years, respectively. Both case studies have pointed out the importance of wild ungulates as prey for snow leopards, as well as the reciprocal impacts of this predator and its wild prey on each other. Livestock does not seem to work well as an alternative food resource. The restoration of a community of wild prey species, for example, through reintroductions and/or freeing up areas from excessive livestock grazing, would be important management instruments to promote the local persistence of the snow leopard.
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|Titolo:||Living on the Edge: Depletion of Wild Prey and Survival of the Snow Leopard|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||2.1 Contributo in volume (Capitolo o Saggio)|
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