Unusually High Predation on Chacma Baboons (Papio ursinus) by Female Leopards (Panthera pardus) in the Waterberg Mountains, South AfricaJooste E.a · Pitman R.T.b · van Hoven W.a · Swanepoel L.H.a
aCentre for Wildlife Management, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa; bMarine Biology and Ecology Research Centre, Plymouth University, Plymouth, UK
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Leopards do not preferentially favour baboons as prey, but they are considered the primary predators of baboons across Africa. Even in areas where baboons are abundant, their contribution to leopard diet seldom exceeds 5% of biomass. It is suggested that the extreme aggressiveness of baboons, group vigilance and their high mobility when escaping may limit leopard predation. Male baboons are particularly aggressive, and retaliation often leads to the death of the leopard. However, evidence suggests that leopards may learn to catch and kill certain dangerous prey. This study reports predation on chacma baboons by 3 female leopards on a private game reserve in the Waterberg Mountains of South Africa. Potential leopard feeding sites were identified using global positioning system (GPS) location clusters obtained from GPS collars. Over a 5-month period, we investigated 200 potential leopard feeding sites and located 96 leopard feeding/kill sites. Baboons constituted 18.7% of the leopards’ biomass intake. The majority of baboons preyed upon were adults and 70% of the kills were diurnal. In terms of the measured variables, there were no significant differences in the way the leopards preyed upon baboons, compared to the rest of the prey species.
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