Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Mechanisms facilitating coexistence between leopards (Panthera pardus) and their competitors in the Okavango Delta, Botswana
Author: Rafiq, K.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7964 2865
Awarding Body: Liverpool John Moores University
Current Institution: Liverpool John Moores University
Date of Award: 2019
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Large carnivores provide key ecological services to ecosystems, and full species assemblages are thought to be important in maintaining full ecosystem function. The African large carnivore guild represents one of the last functionally intact guilds of large carnivores on Earth, but relatively little is known of the mechanisms facilitating coexistence between some of its members. As such, I investigate coexistence mechanisms between leopards (Panthera pardus) and their competitors and present four pieces of original research on leopard ecology and monitoring, primarily within the framework of carnivore interactions. To this end, I focus on sympatric populations of wild, but habituated, lions (Panthera leo), leopards, African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus), and cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) in northern Botswana. Data were primarily collected through a combination of field-based observations, high-resolution GPS radio collars, and tourist-contributed photographs. I found that at both broad- and fine- scales, leopards were largely resilient to the effects of intraguild competition. Specifically, I found little evidence that spatio-temporal niches were driven by predator avoidance and found limited impacts of competitor encounters on leopard behaviours and movements. In the context of intraspecific competition, my thesis also informs on the optimal scent marking strategies used by leopards to communicate with conspecifics, presumably, in part, to facilitate territory maintenance. Specifically, leopards invested more in maintaining scent marks at home range boundaries and scent marked at higher frequencies on roads. My thesis results also highlight the potential of using tourist photographs to monitor large carnivore densities within protected areas. In sum, my findings provide key insights into the coexistence mechanisms between leopards and their competitors and provide a framework for sustainable citizen-driven wildlife monitoring programs.
Supervisor: Meloro, C. ; Wich, S. ; Hayward, M. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QL Zoology