Vol. 60, 2021
Spatial Distribution and Dietary Niche Breadth of Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) Inhabiting Margalla Hills National Park, Pakistan
of Wildlife Management, PMAS Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi
43600, Pakistan. *Correspondence: E-mail: email@example.com
(Mahmood). Tel: +923215105689.
Received 21 December 2020 / Accepted 1 April 2021
Leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis)
is distributed throughout the Himalayan foothills in Pakistan and
occurs in moist temperate and dry coniferous forests. However, the cat
species is categorized as “Data Deficient” in Pakistan. In the current
study we aimed at investigating leopard cat distribution and dietary
niche in the Margalla Hills National Park, the lowest part of the
Himalayan foothills in Pakistan. We recorded direct (field
observations, camera trapping) and indirect signs (scats) of the
species on 23 trails / tracks in the study area. The leopard cat was
recorded at 13 different sampling sites in the park, with an
altitudinal range between 664 m–1441 m asl. The diet composition of the
species was investigated through scat analysis, with the species
identity of the scats confirmed through the mitochondrial cytB region.
The species diet comprised of both animal and plant matter. The
animal-based diet (in terms of frequency of occurrence) contained wild
(51.75%) as well as domestic prey (7.69%), and plant species (31.47%).
Wild prey included small mammals (rodents, two mongoose species, Asian
palm squirrel, and Cape hare), birds, insects and snails. The domestic
prey were poultry birds, sheep, goat and dog. Consumption of wild prey
was higher in summer (n = 31 scat) whereas intake of domestic prey was higher in winter (n
= 37 scats). The dietary niche breadth was wider 14.84 (0.43) in summer
as compared to that in winter 10.67 (0.30). Chi-square test showed
significant difference in seasonal dietary intake of leopard cat. The
study concludes that leopard cat feeds mainly on wild animal prey and
plant species, however, in winter season consumption of domestic prey
Key words: Spatial distribution, Seasonal diet, Dietary composition, Prey species, Niche breadth.
Fatima H, Mahmood T, Hennelly LM, Farooq M, Akri F, Nadeem MS. 2021.
Spatial distribution and dietary niche breadth of leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) inhabiting Margalla Hills National Park, Pakistan. Zool Stud 60:0ff. doi:-.