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The role of predation on the endangered blackbuck antelope (Antelope cervicapra) by the endangered Indian wolf (Canis lupus pallipes) in Velavadar National Park, Gujarat, India, was evaluated in terms of ratios of predator to prey. Food habits of wolves were determined from scat analysis and by direct observation. Consumption was estimated from unutilized portions of blackbuck kills. Wolves preyed primarily on blackbuck (88% biomass consumption), rodents, and hares (Lepus nigricollis). Wolves consumed 4.62 (S.E. 0.11) kg/wolf/kill and made kills at an interval of 3.5 (S.E. 0.5) days. Daily consumption by wolves was estimated at 1.33 kg/wolf. The number of blackbuck killed annually per wolf was estimated between 35 and 39. Between 142 to 158 blackbuck per wolf were considered essential to maintain a stable blackbuck population. Managing the grassland habitat by annual removal of the exotic shrub Prosopis juliflora, minimizing human disturbance to wolves at kills, and reducing predation on blackbuck by feral dogs were some ways to ensure continued viability of this wolf-blackbuck system.
Conservation Biology © 1993 Wiley