Ecology of Leopard (Panthera pardus fusca Meyer) in Dry Tropical Forests of Gir National Park and Sanctuary, Gujarat, India

Nazneen Zehra, Rohit Chaudhary, Jamal A. Khan


We studied ecology of leopard (Panthera pardus fusca) in dry tropical forests of GNPS, Gujarat, India from 2009 to 2012. We used direct counts of leopard, direct homing of collared individuals, road transect counts, detection and monitoring of kills for assessing leopard abundance, habitat use, home range size, prey availability and utilization in the intensive study area (ISA) of ca.  200 km2. The mean leopard sighting produced to be 0.65 ± 0.197 (95% LL 0.249698 – UL 1.050302) per site (2x2 km). Ninety percent certainty produced upper limit of finding one leopard per site satisfactory. Among the available wild prey species, chital was abundant Nd (Ni) =  2388 (12050)  followed by langur 334 (3968) and peafowl 1858 (3788) . Age-wise, detection rate was high for chital of adult age, whereas chital fawn and sub-adults were detected with almost similar rates (2.11 and  2.06 km-1).  Sambar of sub-adult age, yearlings and fawn were detected with slightly decreasing rates (0.13, 0.11 and  0.10 km-1). Detection rates of nilgai and wild pig were found almost similar. Large MGS found for chital adults (3.12 ± 0.03). A total of 328 leopards kills were searched and monitored which were comprising chital (ca. 78.53%) of adult age to maxima. However sambar (ca. 2.09%), nilgai (ca.  1.05%), wild pig ca. 0.52%), peafowl ca. 8.38%) and langur (ca. 7.85%) were also found. The sex ratio of leopard kills was 1 male:1.58 females. The overall kill rate was 3.7 days/kill. Leopards killed chital and langur in proportions to their availabilities. The lion Panthera leo persica overtook ca.  41% of leopard kills in the study area. The overall mean home range size of male leopard was estimated to be ca.  28.15 km2 with significant random point patterns. The activity pattern of the leopard was crepuscular diurnal as well as nocturnal. Among available habitats, Teak Mixed Forest  (TMF) was intensively used by leopards from direct sightings while Riverine Forest (RF) was used for kill protection purpose. Leopards also used TMF and RF extensively while resting close to water sources.


Feeding Ecology; GNPS; Home Range; Leopard Population Size; Radio Collaring; Habitat Use.


Alam, M.S.; Khan, J.A. and Pathak, B.J. 2015. Striped hyena(Hyaena hyaena) status and factors affecting its distribution in the Gir National Park and Sanctuary, India. Folia Zoologica 64 (1): 32–39.

Anderson, C, R. and Lindzey, F.G. 2003. Estimating cougar predation rates from GPS location clusters. Journal of Wildlife Management 67: 307-316.

Andheria, A. P.; Karanth, K. U. and Kumar, N. S. 2007. Diet and prey profiles of three sympatric large carnivores in Bandipur Tiger Reserve, India. Journal of Zoology 263:169-175.

Bailey, T. N. 1993. The African Leopard. Ecology and Behavior of a Solitary Felid. Columbia University Press, New York. 476 pages.

Balme, G.; Hunter, L. and Slotow, R. 2007. Feeding habitat selection by hunting leopard, Panthera pardus, in a woodland savannah: prey catchability versus abundance. Animal Behavior 74: 589-598.

Banerjee, K and Jhala, Y.V. 2012. Demographic parameters of endangered Asiatic lions (Panthera leo persica) in Gir forest, India. Journal of Mammalogy 93: 1420-1430.

Bothma, J.Du P. and Le Riche, E.A.N. 1984. Aspects of the ecology and behaviour of the leopard Panthera pardus in the Kalahari Desert’, Koedoe-Protected area conservation and Science (Supplement) 27: 259–279.

Bothma, J.DuP.; Knight, M.H.; Le Riche, E.A.N. and Van Hensbergen, H.J. 1997. Range size of southern Kalahari Leopard. South African Journal of Wildlife Research27: 94-99.

Bothma, J.D.P. and Le Riche, E.A.N. 1986. Prey preference and hunting efficiency of the Kalahari desert leopard. Pages 381-414, In: Miller, S.D. and Everett, D.D. (Editors). Cats of the World: Biology, Conservation and Management. National Wildlife Federation, Washington, DC..

Breuer, T. 2005. Diet choice of large carnivores in northern Cameroon. African Journal of Ecology 32: 97-106.

Brockmann, H.J. and Barnard, C, J. 1979. Kleptoparasitism in birds. Animal Behaviour 27: 487-514.

Cristescu, B.; Bernard, R.T.F. and Krause, J. 2013. Partitioning of space, habitat and time of activity by large felids in an enclosed South African system. Journal of Ethology 31: 285-298.

Curio, E. 1976. The Ethology of Predation. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. 250 pages.

Dave, C, V. 2008. Ecology of Chital (Axis axis) in Gir. Ph.D. thesis Suarashtra University, Rajkot, India. 285 pages.

Davidson, Z.; Valeix, M.; Kesteren, F.V.; Loveridge, A.J.; Hunt, J.E.; Murindagomo, F. and Macdonald, D.W. 2013. Seasonal diet and prey preference in a water-hole driven semi-arid savanna. PLOS One. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0055182.

Du Preez, B.; Hart, T.; Loveridge, A.J. and Macdonald, D. 2015. Impact of risk on animal behavior and habitat transition probabilities. Animal Behaviour 100: 22-37.

Durant, S.M. 2000. Living with enemy: avoidance of hyenas and lions by cheetahs in the Serengeti. Behavioral Ecology 11: 624-632.

Eisenberg, J.F. and Seidensticker, J. 1976. Ungulates in southern Asia: A consideration for biomass estimates for selected habitats. Biological Conservation 10: 293-308.

Fuller, T.K. and Sievert, P.R. 2001. Carnivore demography and the consequences of change in prey availability. Pages 163-178, In: Gittleman, J.L.; Funk, S.M.; Macdonald, D.W. and Wayne, R.K. (Editors). Carnivore Conservation. Cambridge University Press, Cmbridge, U.K.

Gese, E. M. 2001. Monitoring of terrestrial carnivore populations. USDA National Wildlife Research Center - Staff Publications, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, 372-396 pages.

Grassman, L.I. 1999. Ecology and behaviour of Indochinese leopard in Khaeng Krachan National Park, Thailand. Natural History Bulletin of the Siam Society 47: 77-93.

Hanby, J.P.; Bygott, J.D. and Packer, C, 1995. Ecology, demography and behaviour of lions in two contrasting habitats: Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti plains. Pages 315-331, In: Sinclair, A.R.E. and Arcese, P. (Editors) Serengeti II: Dynamics, Management and Conservation of an Ecosystem. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois.

Hayward, M.W. and Kerley, G.I.H. 2005. Prey preferences of the lion (Panthera leo). Journal of Zoology 267(3): 309-322.

Hayward, M. W.; Henschel, P.; O’brien, J.; Hofmeyr, M.; Balme, G. and Kerleg, G. I. H. 2006b. Prey preferences of the leopard (Panther pardus). Journal of Zoology 270: 298-313.

Hayward, M.W. and Slotow, R. 2009. Temporal partitioning of activity in large African carnivores: test of multiple hypothesis. South African Journal of Wildlife Research 39: 109-125.

Jacobs, J. 1974. Quantitative measurement of food selection. Oecologia 14: 413-413.

Jennrich, R. I. and Turner, F. B. 1969. Measurement of noncircular home range. Journal of Theoretical Biology 22: 227-237.

Jenny, D. 1996. Spatial organization of leopards in Tai National Park, Ivory Coast: is rainforest habitat a ‘tropical heaven’? Journal of Zoology (London) 240: 427-440.

Johnsingh, A.J.T. 1983. Large mammalian prey-predators in Bandipur. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 80: 1-57.

Johnson, D.H. 1980. The comparison of usage and availability measurement for evaluating resource preference. Ecology 61: 65-71.

Joslin, P. 1973. The Asiatic Lion: A Study of Ecology and Behaviour. Ph.D. thesis, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh. 248 pages.

Kale, R.; Ramesh, T.; Qureshi, Q. and Sankar, K. 2011. Density of tiger and leopard in a tropical deciduous forest of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Southern India as estimated using photographic capture-recapture sampling. Acta Theriologica 56: 335-342.

Karanth, K. U.and Sunquist, M. E. 1995. Prey selection by tiger, leopard and dhole in tropical forests. Journal of Animal Ecology 64: 439-450.

Karanth, K.U. and Sunquist, M.E. 2000. Behavioral correlates of predation by tiger (Panthera tigris), leopard (Panthera pardus) and dhole (Cuon alpinus) in Nagarhole, India. Journal of Zoology (London) 250: 255-265.

Khan, J. A. 1993. Ungulate Habitat Relationships in Gir Forest Ecosystem and its Management Implications. Ph.D. thesis Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India. 277 pages.

Khan, J. A.; Chellam, R.; Rodgers, W.A. and Johnsingh, A.J.T. 1996. Ungulate densities and biomass in the tropical dry deciduous forest of Gir, Gujarat, India. Journal of Tropical Ecology 12: 146-162.

Kittle, A.M.; Watson, A.C, , Kumara, P.H.S.C, , Sandanayake, S.D.K.C, , Sanjeewani, H.K.N. and Fernando, T.S.P. 2014. Notes on the diet and habitat selection of the Sri Lankan leopard Panthera pardus kotiya in the central highlands of Sri Lanka. Journal of Threatened Taxa 6: 6214-6221.

Krebs, J.R. and Davies, N.B. 1979. Behavioural ecology and evolutionary approach. Sunderland, Massachusetts. 494 pages.

Kumaraguru, A.; Saravanamuthu, R.; Brinda, K. and Asokan, S. 2011. Prey preference of large carnivores in Anamalai Tiger Reserve, India. European Journal of Wildlife Research 57: 627-637.

Laundre, J. W. 2008. Summer predation rates on ungulate prey by a large keystone predator: how many ungulates does a large predator kill? Journal of Zoology 275: 341–348.

Litvaitis, J.A.; Major, J.T. and Sherburne, J.A. 1987. Influence of season and human induced mortality on spatial organization of bobcats (Felis rufus) in Maine. Journal of Mammalogy 68: 100-106.

Lovari, S.; Pokheral, C.P.; Jnawali, S.R.; Fusani, L. and Ferreti, F. 2014. Coexistence of the tiger and the common leopard in prey-rich area: the role of prey partitioning. Journal of Zoology (London) 295: 122-131.

Marker, L.L. and Dickman, A.J. 2005. Factors affecting leopard (Panthera pardus) spatial ecology, with particular reference to Namibian farmlands. South African Journal of Wildlife Research 35: 105-115.

Meena, V. 2008. Reproductive Strategies and Behaviour of Male Asiatic Lion. Ph.D. thesis ,Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, India. 196 pages.

Meena, V.; Jhala, Y.V.; Chellam, R. and Pathak, B. 2011. Impli-ations of diet composition of Asiatic lion for their conservation. Journal of Zoology (London) 284: 60-67.

Mondal, K.; Gupta, S.; Qureshi, Q. and Sankar, K. 2011. Prey selection and food habits of leopard (Panthera pardus fusca) in Sariska Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan, India. Mammalia 75: 201-205.

Mukherjee, S. and Heithaus, M.R. 2013. Dangerous prey and daring predators: a review. Biological Reviews 88: 550-563.

Newsome, T.M.; Dellinger, J.A.; Pavey, C. R.; Ripple, W.J.; Shores, C. R.; Wirsing, A.J. and Dickman, C. R. 2014. The ecological effects of providing resources subsidies to predators. Global Ecology and Biogeography 24: 1-11.

Nielsen, E.T. 1983. Relation of behavioural activity rhythms to the changes of day and light. A revision of views. Behaviour 89: 147-173.

Norton, P.M. and Lawson, A.B. 1985. Radio tracking of leopards and caracal in the Stellenbosch area, Cape Province. South African Journal of Wildlife Research 15: 17-24.

Odden, M. and Wegge, P. 2005. Spacing and activity patterns of leopards Panthera pardus in the Royal Bardia National Park, Nepal. Wildlife Biology 11: 145-152.

Odden, M. and Wegge, P. 2009. Kill rates and food consumption of leopards in Bardia National Park, Nepal. Acta Theriologica 54: 23- 30.

Patterson, B.R.; Bondrup-Nielsen, S. and Messier, F. 1999. Activity pattern and daily movement of eastern coyote, Canis latrans, in Nova Scotia. Canadian Field Naturalist 113: 251-257.

Rabinowitz, A. 1989. The density and behavior of large cats in a dry tropical forest mosaic in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, Thailand. Natural History Bulletin of the Siam Society 37: 235-251.

Ramakrishnan, U.; Coss, R. G. and Pelkey, N. W. 1999. Tiger decline caused by the reduction of large ungulate prey: evidence from a study of leopard dies in southern India. Biological Conservation 89: 113-120.

Ramesh, T.; Kalle, R.; Sankar, K. and Qureshi, Q. 2012. Spatio-temporal partitioning among carnivores in relation to major prey species in Western Ghats. Journal of Zoology (London) 287: 269-275.

Ramesh, T.; Snehalatha, V.; Sankar, K. and Qureshi, Q. 2009. Food habits and prey selection of tiger and leopard in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu, India. Journal of Scientific Transactions in Environment and Technovation 2: 170-181.

Ravi Chellam. 1993. Ecology of Asiatic Lion. Ph.D. thesis, Saurashtra University, Rajkot, India. 170 pages.

Saitoh, T. 1991. The effects and limits of territoriality on population regulation in grey red-backed voles, Clethrionomys rufocanus bedfordiae. Research on Population Ecology 33: 367-386.

Scantlebury, D. M.; Mills, M.G.L.; Wilson, R.P.; Wilson, J.W.; Mills M.E.; Durant, S.M.; Bennett, N.C, , Bradford, P.; Marks, N.J. and Speakman, J.R. 2014. Mammalian energetics. Flexible energetics of cheetah hunting strategies provide resistance against kleptoparasitism. Science 346: 79-81.

Schaller, G.B. 1967. The Deer and the Tiger. A Study of Wildlife in India. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. 384 pages.

Schoener, T. W. 1981. An empirically based estimate of home range. Theoretical Population Biology 20: 281-325.

Selvan, K.M. 2013. Ecology of sympatric large carnivores in Pakke Tiger Reserve, Arunachal Pradesh. Ph.D. thesis Saurashtra University, India. 242 pages.

Simcharoen, S.; Barlow, A.C, D.; Simcharoen, A. and Smith, J.L.D. 2008. Home range size and day time habitat selection of leopards in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, Thailand. Biological Conservation 141: 2242-2250.

Stander, P.E.; Haden, P.J.; Kaqece. H. and Ghau, H. 1997. The ecology of asociality among Namibian leopards. Journal of Zoology (London) 242: 343-364.

Tufto, J.; Andersen, R. and Linnell, J. 1996. Habitat use and ecological correlates of home range size in small cervid: The Roe Deer. Journal of Animal Ecology 65: 715-724.

Vanak, A.T.; Fortin, D.; Thaker, M.; Ogden, M.; Owen, C, , Greatwood, S. and Slotow, R. 2013. Moving to stay in place: behavioural mechanism for coexistence of African large carnivore. Ecology 94: 2619-2631.

Wilson, R.P.; Putz, K.; Gremillet, D.; Culik, B.M.; Kierspel, M.; Regel, J.; Charles, A.B.; Lage, J. and Cooper, J. 1995. Reliability of stomach temperatures changes in determining feeding characteristic of sea birds. Journal of Experimental Biology 198: 1115-1135.

Zehra, N.; Khan, J.A. and Chaudhary, R. 2017. Food habits of large carnivores (Leopard and Lion) in Gir National park and Sanctuary (GNPS), Gujarat, India. World Journal of Zoology 12(4): 67-81.

Zehra, N.; Khan, J. A.; Kumar, S. and Meena, R.L.2013. A Study of Large Mammalian Prey Predators of Gir Lion Sanctuary, Gujarat, India, Final Technical Report submitted to the University Grants Commission (UGC), New Delhi. Department of Wildlife Sciences, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh. 305 pages.

Zehra, N.; Meena, R.L.; Singh, A.P.; Kumar, S. and Khan, J.A. 2016a. Abundance and habitat use of leopard and lion in Gir National Park and Sanctuary, Gujarat, India. International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences 42 (2): 143-161.

Zehra, N.; Meena, R.L.; Singh, A.P.; Kumar, S. and Khan J.A. 2016b. Assessment of prey biomass availability for leopard and lion in Gir National Park and Lion Sanctuary, Gujarat, India. International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences 42(3): 239-348.

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

COPYRIGHT of this Journal vests fully with the National Instional Institute of Ecology. Any commercial use of the content on this site in any form is legally prohibited.