Abundance and Habitat Use of Leopard and Lion in Gir National Park and Sanctuary, Gujarat, India

Nazneen Zehra, R. L. Meena, A. P. Singh, Sandeep Kumar, Jamal A. Khan


We estimated abundance and habitat use of leopard and lion in Gir National Park and Sanctuary, Gujarat from 2009 to 2012. Direct and indirect evidence of leopard and lion were sampled on trails and roads inside the study area in western Gir for abundance estimation. The abundance of leopard outside Gir was estimated using capture-mark-recapture technique on 10×10 km grid map using data obtained from the forest department. Scats sampled on trails and roads in the study area were used to calculate scat encounter rates. Scats data were plotted on a grid system of 2 x 2 km for calculation of scat accumulation rates and defecation rates for both species in order to estimate the abundance. The direct sightings of leopard and lion were recorded for each season and data were used for calculation of densities by abundance estimation models “Royle/Nichols Heterogeneity Model (Model 1) and Royle Model w/species counts (k=200) (Model 2)” using software program PRESENCE (ver 4.0).  The density of leopard was calculated as 17.8, 18.5 and 16.8 leopard/100 km2 by indirect evidence and direct evidence data (model 1 and model 2) respectively.  The values for lion were 20.1, 21.5 and 20.2 lions per100 km2 by indirect evidence and direct evidence data (model 1 and model 2) respectively. The pattern of leopard habitat use for overall period was assessed in following order:  Teak Mixed Forest > Teak Acacia Ziziphus Woodland > Riverine Forest >Thorn Woodland while for lion it was assessed to be Riverine Forest > Teak Mixed Forest > Teak Acacia Zyziphus woodland > Thorn Woodland,  respectively. The estimated density values for leopard and lion by both methods were similar and therefore the sampling protocol used under the present study could be adopted by managers for regular monitoring  in Gir for abundance estimation.


Abundance Estimation; Density; Gir National Park and Sanctuary; Habitat Use; Population Size.


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