Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

India: Leopards in the backyard

Date:
March 8, 2013
Source:
Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
Summary:
A new camera-trapping study in India has revealed that leopards can occur at high densities in densely-populated and heavily-modified agricultural environments.

An image of a leopard taken with a camera trap.
Credit: Vidya Athreya

A new camera-trapping study in India has revealed that leopards can occur at high densities in densely-populated and heavily-modified agricultural environments. Despite the high density of leopards there are no reports of human fatalities in the study area.

Related Articles


The results from this study challenge the popular misperception that large carnivores require wilderness areas to survive. On one hand this greatly expands the area of interface between humans and leopards which will require a proactive approach to dealing with potential conflicts on a large scale. However, on the other hand it opens up many new areas for conservation, greatly increasing the chances of maintaining the connectivity which is so important to maintain viable populations in the long term.

The conservation of large carnivores like wolves, bears, tigers and lions is always a challenging task in our modern and crowded world. Humans have modified and fragmented habitats and often experience a diversity of conflicts with large predatory neighbours.

There is currently a major debate going on among conservationists about how to best go about achieving large carnivore conservation. Alternatives range from a focus on fencing carnivores into protected areas to allowing them to reoccupy shared landscapes where they must coexist with human activities. At least part of this discussion depends on determining to what extent the species can tolerate living in human-dominated landscapes.

In order to investigate this a team of researchers from Norway (Norwegian Institute for Nature Research and Norwegian University for Life Sciences) and India (Wildlife Conservation Society -- India) conducted a camera-trapping study around the town of Akole in western India.

The landscape is heavily dominated by people (350 people per km2), virtually all habitat is converted to agriculture (mainly sugar cane), and there are no wild prey species bigger than hares in the landscape. There were no forests or protected areas close to the study area.

Despite this extent of human dominance of the landscape, the study revealed a very high density of both leopards and stripped hyenas (5 adults per 100 km2). In addition to these large carnivores the studied revealed the presence of a range of smaller predators, including rusty spotted cats, small Indian civet, Indian fox, jungle cat, jackals and mongooses.

The leopards were photographed very close to houses at night, and even seen in the middle of the town. Despite this very high density of leopards, there were no reports of any people being seriously injured in living memory, although the leopards were living on a diet of domestic dogs and livestock which was a source of some conflict.

The results from this study challenge the popular misperception that large carnivores require wilderness areas to survive. On one hand greatly expands the area of interface between humans and leopards which will require a proactive approach to dealing with potential conflicts on a large scale. However, on the other hand it opens up many new areas for conservation, greatly increasing the chances of maintaining the connectivity which is so important to maintain viable populations in the long term.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Norwegian Institute for Nature Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Vidya Athreya, Morten Odden, John D. C. Linnell, Jagdish Krishnaswamy, Ullas Karanth. Big Cats in Our Backyards: Persistence of Large Carnivores in a Human Dominated Landscape in India. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (3): e57872 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057872

Cite This Page:

Norwegian Institute for Nature Research. "India: Leopards in the backyard." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130308093806.htm>.
Norwegian Institute for Nature Research. (2013, March 8). India: Leopards in the backyard. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130308093806.htm
Norwegian Institute for Nature Research. "India: Leopards in the backyard." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130308093806.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Move Over Squirrels: Leopards Are New Backyard Wildlife

Mar. 28, 2013 Certain landscapes of western India completely devoid of wilderness and with high human populations are crawling with a different kind of backyard wildlife: ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins