Snow leopard diet determined by DNA analysis of fecal samples

Feb 29, 2012

Knowledge about animal diet can inform conservation strategy, but this information can be difficult to gather. A new DNA-based method, which analyzes genetic material from feces, could be a useful tool, and researchers have shown its utility to characterize the diet of snow leopards in Mongolia.

The full results are reported Feb. 29 in the open access journal .

Analysis of DNA from 81 showed that the leopards ate mostly Siberian ibex, followed by domestic goats and wild sheep. Most of the animals eaten were wild (79 %), with a relatively low proportion of domestic livestock (19.7 %).

The authors, led by Pierre Taberlet of Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in France, write that the results help further the understanding of feeding, which can help address related conservation and management issues.

Explore further: Rescued 'abandoned' penguin chicks survival similar to colony rates

More information: Shehzad W, McCarthy TM, Pompanon F, Purevjav L, Coissac E, et al. (2012) Prey Preference of Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) in South Gobi, Mongolia. PLoS ONE 7(2): e32104. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032104

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Counting cats: The endangered snow leopards of the Himalayas

Nov 28, 2011

The elusive snow leopard (Panthera uncia) lives high in the mountains across Central Asia. Despite potentially living across 12 countries the actual numbers of this beautiful large cat are largely unknown. It is thought that t ...

Snow leopard population discovered in Afghanistan

Jul 13, 2011

The Wildlife Conservation Society has discovered a surprisingly healthy population of rare snow leopards living in the mountainous reaches of northeastern Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor, according to a new ...

First Far Eastern Leopard Captured in Southeast Russia

Nov 14, 2006

Just three days after catching a Siberian tiger in the Russian Far East, an international team led by biologists from the Wildlife Conservation Society captured another species last week that carries the dubious distinction ...

GPS to track blue sheep and snow leopard

Nov 06, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists hope to improve the survival odds of the endangered snow leopard in Nepal by venturing into the remote Himalayas to study its main prey, the Bharal or blue sheep.

Iberian wolves prefer wild roe deer to domestic animals

Oct 23, 2009

A Spanish researcher has analysed the preferences of wolves from the north east of the Iberian Peninsula to demonstrate that, in reality, their favourite prey are roe deer, deer and wild boar, ahead of domestic ...

Recommended for you

Secret wing colours attract female fruit flies

Oct 22, 2014

Bright colours appear on a fruit fly's transparent wings against a dark background as a result of light refraction. Researchers from Lund University in Sweden have now demonstrated that females choose a mate ...

Pigeons and people play the odds when rewards are higher

Oct 22, 2014

(Phys.org) —If you were weighing the risks, would you choose to receive a guaranteed $100, or take a 50/50 chance of winning either $200 or nothing? Researchers at the University of Alberta have shown that ...

User comments : 0