The Un-Common Leopard: presence, distribution and abundance in Gallies and Murree Forest Division, Northern Pakistan

Muhammad Asad, Muhammad Waseem, James G. Ross, Adrian M. Paterson
2019 Nature Conservation  
The leopard Panthera pardus is thought to be sparsely distributed across Pakistan and there is limited understanding of the demographic structure and distribution of the species in this country. We conducted a study, from April to July 2017, and, from March to June 2018, in the northern Pakistan region to establish the presence and distribution of leopards, mindful at the outset of their abundance in that region. The presence of leopards was confirmed in the Swat, Dir and Margalla Hills region.
more » ... The leopard population in Gallies and Murree Forest Division was preliminarily assessed via camera-trapping. As a result, a total of 63 potential areas of leopard population were identified initially. The leopard was photo captured at 27 locations (hotspots) with 34 capture events yielding 195 images over the course of 3,022 active trap-nights. Camera trap images were examined to identify leopard individuals using their rosette patterns on both the left and right flanks and the dorsal side of the tail. Ultimately, 15 leopard individuals were identified during the first survey period of the study and four individuals were recaptured in the second survey period, together with three new individuals. The detection probability of individual leopards from MARK varied from 0.10 and 0.20 with a population size (preliminarily estimated to be 16–25 (SE = 3.18) in 2107 and 7–13 (SE = 1.87) in 2018. This gave a density of 4.5 to 9.5 leopards/100 km2, respectively. A home range of various individual leopards was found to extend from the Gallies Reserved Forest to the extended corridors of Guzara Forest. In general, this study suggests that the Guzara Forest is crucially important for the conservation of leopards in the region as this area allows them extended movement while searching for food and mates.
doi:10.3897/natureconservation.37.32748 fatcat:yquukoxxcfdaxnshzw57ywppfu