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On the Ecological Separation between Tigers and Leopards

John Seidensticker
Biotropica
Vol. 8, No. 4 (Dec., 1976), pp. 225-234
DOI: 10.2307/2989714
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2989714
Page Count: 10
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On the Ecological Separation between Tigers and Leopards
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Abstract

In the Royal Chitawan National Park, Nepal, the tiger (Panthera tigris) and the leopard (Panthera pardus) coexist in the riverine forest/tall grass vegetation types. These two big cats differ in the size of prey killed, use of vegetation types, and in activity periods. Although the tiger's weight is four times that of the leopard, coexistence is reportedly not the general rule. A comparison of the results from Chitawan with Kanha National Park (India), where resident tigers occur but leopards are only transients, and Wilpattu National Park (Sri Lanka), where there are leopards but no tigers, indicates that coexistence in Chitawan is facilitated by a large prey biomass, a larger proportion of the ungulate biomass in the small size classes, and by the dense vegetation structure. Some consequences of predator size and the role of interspecific dominance are discussed.

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