WCS 3-Sentence Science
Leopards Can be Fussy Eaters
October 31, 2019
Each year, Wildlife Conservation Society scientists publish more than 300 peer-reviewed studies and papers. “WCS 3-Sentence Science” is a regular tip-sheet — in bite sized helpings — of some of this published work.
Here we present work by WCS’s Luke Hunter on the ramifications of leopard eating habits.
- Researchers found that leopards (Panthera pardus), long thought to be predatory generalists, can in fact be dietary specialists.
- Looking at 2,960 kills made by 49 leopards in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa, researchers found that males tend to be more specialized than females, as were individuals that encountered a diversity of prey species.
- Surprisingly, dietary specialization appeared to disadvantage male leopards as their range overlapped with fewer resident females resulting in fewer cubs born on their home ranges and fewer cubs surviving to independence on their home ranges than generalist males.
Study and Journal: “Ecological opportunity drives individual dietary specialisation in leopards” from Journal of Animal Ecology
WCS Co-Author(s): Luke Hunter, Executive Director, Big Cats Program
For more information, contact: Stephen Sautner, 718–220–3682, email@example.com.