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In the first-ever GPS-based study of leopards in India, led by WCS and partners has delved into the secret lives of these big cats, and recorded their strategies to thrive in human-dominated areas.
The study concludes that leopards in human areas are not always 'stray' or 'conflict' animals but residents, potentially requiring policy makers to rethink India's leopard-management strategies.
Next-door leopards: First GPS-collar study reveals how leopards live with people
Five leopards (two males and three females) perceived as "problem animals" and captured from human-dominated areas despite no predatory attack on people, were radio-collared for the study. Two were translocated and released more than 50 km (31 miles) away, while the remaining three were released near the site of capture.
The scientists monitored the animals' activities from the time of release, for up to a year, recording their behavior -- including strategies they adopt to avoid direct contact with people.
The study, which looked at scat samples for leopards in India's Ahmednagar's district in Maharashtra, found that 87 percent of their diet was made up of domestic animals. Domestic dog dominated as the most common prey item at 39 percent and domestic cats were second at 15 percent.
Seventeen percent of the leopard's diet consisted of assorted wild animals including rodents, monkeys, and mongoose, and birds.
Read more at: phys.org...
The killer responsible for 12 gruesome deaths in northern India isn't a human – it's a man-eating leopard. And villagers in the region, who now live in terror of traveling through the forest at night, believe the big cat is targeting drunk men, stumbling home from local bars.
"Villagers are terrorized by the wild animals and it's almost impossible to venture out after dark," Madan Paneru from Kotali village told the Telegraph. "Moving from one village to another or to markets through forested area becomes difficult. People carry sticks with them and remain alert all the time. Many in the village believe that drunk people are easy prey."
The leopard, according to the report, has killed 12 villagers since January 2012, including two women, and has injured four others. The 10 to 12-year-old animal is believed to have last attacked a human on Sept. 11. The victim survived but was severely injured.
Local wildlife officials, however, aren't completely convinced the animal is fixated solely on drunks, insisting that some of the victims were attacked after using outside toilets.
"Quite frankly, when people are drunk and weave their way back home to the village, they are easy prey," Belinda Wright, who heads up the Wildlife Protection Society of India, said in the Telegraph story. "I don't think the leopard is targeting drunk people, just people stumbling along the path at night. I'm sure you won't taste any better because you've consumed liquor."
Although protected by strict conservation laws, attacks by leopards and tigers have increased in recent years as their habitats shrink, forcing them to wander into populated areas in search of food.
In February of this year, armed trackers and sharp shooters riding atop elephants were dispatched into the forests of the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh to hunt a tiger that had killed eight villagers in a four-week period, eating five of them.
Weeks later in the same region, a leopard that strayed into a hospital and movie theater in Meerut injured two and prompted the authorities to urge the closure of the city's outdoor markets. It was last seen, according to the New Zealand Herald leaping off a building, forcing locals, hoping to catch a glimpse of the big cat, to run for their lives.
dnan is the guy who local officials have turned to for help with their big cat problem. Earlier this year, Adnan spent more than three weeks roaming area forests and sugar cane fields, hoping to prevent the man-eating tiger in western Uttar Pradesh from claiming its ninth victim.
"A tiger never stops eating man once it has developed a taste for human flesh," he told The Australian. "Even if you shoot at her, she will still try and attack you.''
I've read several cases where notorious maneater tigers and leopards were weakened by tooth decay, age or other ailments. They'd become too weak to succeed at taking down their usual prey and found people a much easier meal-deal.
Cats that live in the wild or indoor pets allowed to roam outdoors kill from 1.4 billion to as many as 3.7 billion birds in the continental U.S. each year, says a new study that escalates a decades-old debate over the feline threat to native animals.
The estimates are much higher than the hundreds of millions of annual bird deaths previously attributed to cats. The study also says that from 6.9 billion to as many as 20.7 billion mammals — mainly mice, shrews, rabbits and voles — are killed by cats annually in the contiguous 48 states. The report is scheduled to be published Tuesday in Nature Communications.
"Our findings suggest that free-ranging cats cause substantially greater wildlife mortality than previously thought and are likely the single greatest source of anthropogenic mortality for U.S. birds and mammals," Marra and his co-authors conclude. "Scientifically sound conservation and policy intervention is needed to reduce this impact."