Spatio-temporal overlap of leopard and prey species in the foothills of Shiwalik, Himalaya

Janam Jai Sehgal, Deepak Kumar, Rajiv S. Kalsi, Maximilian L. Allen, Randeep Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding the interspecific interactions (spatial and temporal) between predators and their prey species is important to understanding the prey preferences for conservation and management decisions. However, due to large predators’ wide-ranging, nocturnal, and cryptic behaviour, it is often difficult to assess their interactions with prey species. Therefore, we determined the spatial and temporal interactions of leopard (Panthera pardus) with potential prey species in Kalesar National Park (KNP) using camera traps from January 2020 to April 2020. KNP is situated in the foothills of the Shiwalik mountain range of Himalaya, North India. We used encounter rates and activity patterns to understand the spatial and temporal overlap between leopards and prey species. We used composite scores to predict the potential prey preferences using the photo-capture data. A total sampling effort of 1150 trap nights documented 92 photo-captures of leopards with a detection rate of 17.3 leopards per 100/trap nights. Leopards exhibited bimodal peaks and were active throughout the day and night but showed more diurnal activity. Leopards had the highest temporal overlap with chital (Axis axis) and wild boar (Sus scrofa) and the highest spatial overlap with wild boar, peafowl (Pavo cristatus), and sambar (Rusa unicolor). Due to their high composite scores, wild boar, sambar, peafowl, and chital were predicted the most preferred prey species for leopards. Our results suggest that effective management of preferred prey species in the area is required to ensure the conservation of the leopard population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number18
JournalEuropean Journal of Wildlife Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Activity pattern
  • Camera trap
  • Himalayas
  • Interspecific competition
  • Kalesar National Park
  • Panthera pardus
  • Prey preference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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