An increasing proportion of the world's poor is rearing livestock today, and the global livestock population is growing. Livestock predation by large carnivores and their retaliatory killing is becoming an economic and conservation concern. A common recommendation for carnivore conservation and for reducing predation on livestock is to increase wild prey populations based on the assumption that the carnivores will consume this alternative food. Livestock predation, however, could either reduce or intensify with increases in wild prey depending on prey choice and trends in carnivore abundance. We show that the extent of livestock predation by the endangered snow leopard Panthera uncia intensifies with increases in the density of wild ungulate prey, and subsequently stabilizes. We found that snow leopard density, estimated at seven sites, was a positive linear function of the density of wild ungulates—the preferred prey—and showed no discernible relationship with livestock density. We also found that modelled livestock predation increased with livestock density. Our results suggest that snow leopard conservation would benefit from an increase in wild ungulates, but that would intensify the problem of livestock predation for pastoralists. The potential benefits of increased wild prey abundance in reducing livestock predation can be overwhelmed by a resultant increase in snow leopard populations. Snow leopard conservation efforts aimed at facilitating increases in wild prey must be accompanied by greater assistance for better livestock protection and offsetting the economic damage caused by carnivores.
File with details on snow leopard diet: The column "Area" numbers the different sites where we worked. The column "Block" names the sites. The column "ID" lists the unique identification number of each scat sample. Column "Primer" indicates whether the sample was positive with the snow leopard specific primer "UNC1". The remaining four columns indicate the number of hairs of each species occurring in each scat sample. Column "Unid" indicates unidentified species.
Appendix C1 SLDiet.csv
Population density of snow leopard, wild prey and livestock: The file contains information on the area of all study sites and population of snow leopard, wild prey and livestock species at each of the seven sites. Column names are self explanatory. The file structure is suitable to run the functional analysis code.
Appendix C2 SLPrey.csv
R code for functional response analysis: The file contains the entire code required to run the functional response analysis. The file structure of snow leopard diet and snow leopard prey files (Appendic C1 & C2) is ready for this code.
Genotyping data Spiti and Ladakh: The file contains the genotype profile of all the snow leopard individuals from our study sites. These data were used to estimate snow leopard abundance at each site. The column names are self explanatory.
Wild herbivore prey population data: This file contains raw data of the wild prey population surveys at the seven sites. Column names are self explanatory.
Livestock population census data: The file contains livestock population census data from all the villages and communities in the seven study sites. Data are given by livestock species by each village. Column names are self explanatory.
Livestock census 2010-11.csv
This work is licensed under a CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication license.
|Date made available||11 May 2017|
|Publisher||Dryad Digital Repository|
|Geographical coverage||Jammu and Kashmir, South Gobi Mongolia, Himachal Pradesh|
- apparent competition
- Apparent facilitation
- conservation conflicts
- Panthera uncia
- Predator-prey interactions