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behind the big cat's and bear's, who is the top predator?

United States Styx38 Offline
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You make a fair point about both focusing mostly on juveniles and sub-adults of 400 + kg ungulates.

However, I wanted to go over Horse predation.

I am aware of Leopards occasionally killing Zebra. I am also aware of Leopards killing Onagers, which could substitute for the Burros killed by Mountain Lions.

However, the Leopard's smaller and weaker cousin, the Snow Leopard kills free-ranging Horses, including adults, throughout their home range.

"Of the domestic ungulates, the yaks and horses range freely

Snow leopards also killed horses more than expected (χ L 2 = 31.31, df = 4, P < 0.01)

Thus the annual per capita loss in relation to the state’s annual per capita income is relatively higher in the GMWS compared with Kibber, which could be attributed to the greater proportion of adult (>5 years old) yaks (65% of total yak loss) and horses (52% of total horse depredation) lost to predators in the GMWS."

 Namgail et. al. 2007. Carnivore-Caused Livestock Mortality in Trans-Himalaya


Here is a Snow Leopard with a Zanskari Horse kill.



*This image is copyright of its original author



The Zanskari is the most common breed in Ladakh, India.

Their size:

"705-992 lbs (320-450 kg)"

https://www.horsebreedspictures.com/zanskari-horse.asp


Which puts them at approx. the size of a Mustang.

"Most wild horses stand 13 to 15 hands high (52-60 inches) and weigh from 700 to 1,000 pounds"

https://www.blm.gov/programs/wild-horse-and-burro/about-the-program/about-wild-horses-and-burros


They have also killed various Horses in other parts of the Himalayas as well as different ranges like Mongolia.
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Canada OncaAtrox Offline
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( This post was last modified: 05-26-2020, 01:15 AM by OncaAtrox )

(05-25-2020, 11:58 PM)Styx38 Wrote: You make a fair point about both focusing mostly on juveniles and sub-adults of 400 + kg ungulates.

However, I wanted to go over Horse predation.

I am aware of Leopards occasionally killing Zebra. I am also aware of Leopards killing Onagers, which could substitute for the Burros killed by Mountain Lions.

However, the Leopard's smaller and weaker cousin, the Snow Leopard kills free-ranging Horses, including adults, throughout their home range.

"Of the domestic ungulates, the yaks and horses range freely

Snow leopards also killed horses more than expected (χ L 2 = 31.31, df = 4, P < 0.01)

Thus the annual per capita loss in relation to the state’s annual per capita income is relatively higher in the GMWS compared with Kibber, which could be attributed to the greater proportion of adult (>5 years old) yaks (65% of total yak loss) and horses (52% of total horse depredation) lost to predators in the GMWS."

 Namgail et. al. 2007. Carnivore-Caused Livestock Mortality in Trans-Himalaya


Here is a Snow Leopard with a Zanskari Horse kill.



*This image is copyright of its original author



The Zanskari is the most common breed in Ladakh, India.

Their size:

"705-992 lbs (320-450 kg)"

https://www.horsebreedspictures.com/zanskari-horse.asp


Which puts them at approx. the size of a Mustang.

"Most wild horses stand 13 to 15 hands high (52-60 inches) and weigh from 700 to 1,000 pounds"

https://www.blm.gov/programs/wild-horse-and-burro/about-the-program/about-wild-horses-and-burros


They have also killed various Horses in other parts of the Himalayas as well as different ranges like Mongolia.
I completely agree these are impressive feats by snow leopards, but keep in mind that they are completely different species from leopards and are in fact more closely related to the tiger. The Pantherine clades  consists of tiger-snow leopard and lion-jaguar-leopard.

To be fair I believe the snow leopard and cougar are the most underrated of the big cats.
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United States Styx38 Offline
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( This post was last modified: 05-26-2020, 01:11 AM by Styx38 )

(05-26-2020, 12:21 AM)OncaAtrox Wrote:
(05-25-2020, 11:58 PM)Styx38 Wrote: You make a fair point about both focusing mostly on juveniles and sub-adults of 400 + kg ungulates.

However, I wanted to go over Horse predation.

I am aware of Leopards occasionally killing Zebra. I am also aware of Leopards killing Onagers, which could substitute for the Burros killed by Mountain Lions.

However, the Leopard's smaller and weaker cousin, the Snow Leopard kills free-ranging Horses, including adults, throughout their home range.

"Of the domestic ungulates, the yaks and horses range freely

Snow leopards also killed horses more than expected (χ L 2 = 31.31, df = 4, P < 0.01)

Thus the annual per capita loss in relation to the state’s annual per capita income is relatively higher in the GMWS compared with Kibber, which could be attributed to the greater proportion of adult (>5 years old) yaks (65% of total yak loss) and horses (52% of total horse depredation) lost to predators in the GMWS."

 Namgail et. al. 2007. Carnivore-Caused Livestock Mortality in Trans-Himalaya


Here is a Snow Leopard with a Zanskari Horse kill.



*This image is copyright of its original author



The Zanskari is the most common breed in Ladakh, India.

Their size:

"705-992 lbs (320-450 kg)"

https://www.horsebreedspictures.com/zanskari-horse.asp


Which puts them at approx. the size of a Mustang.

"Most wild horses stand 13 to 15 hands high (52-60 inches) and weigh from 700 to 1,000 pounds"

https://www.blm.gov/programs/wild-horse-and-burro/about-the-program/about-wild-horses-and-burros


They have also killed various Horses in other parts of the Himalayas as well as different ranges like Mongolia.
I completed agree these are impressive feats by snow leopards, but keep in mind that they are completely different species from leopards and are in fact more closely related to the tiger. The Pantherine clades  consistsof tiger-snow leopard and lion-jaguar-leopard.

To be fair I believe the snow leopard and cougar are the most underrated of the big cats.

Leopards are underrated to.

 I am not talking about the crazy Leopard fans who put the Congo Leopard in the same ballpark as the Pantanal Jaguar. I am just saying in a general sense.

Leopards have also killed various Equids, likely the rare free-ranging/semi-feral type in places like Iran and Himalayan India.
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India Ashutosh Offline
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@Styx38, not only horses, snow leopards also prey upon Kiang or Tibetan wild ass (largest wild ass) throughout their shared range. These animals can weigh close to 450 kilos as well.

Whereas in Eastern Himalayas, snow leopards and tigers prey upon Takin (mostly Bhutan, Mishmi and Red takin) which can also weigh upto 400 kilos. Takin are unknown outside their range.

Anecdotally, there are stories of snow leopards attacking wild yaks from Mongolia which are significantly bigger than domesticated yaks. A person I spoke to also said there were some legends of the ghost aka snow leopard attacking a Bactrian Camel!!!

Personally speaking, they are easily the most spellbinding big cat considering where they live and the extreme things they have to do to find food (look at that video of a snow leopard tumbling more than 150 foot with a blue sheep) and mate.
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United States Styx38 Offline
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(05-26-2020, 03:10 AM)Ashutosh Wrote: @Styx38, not only horses, snow leopards also prey upon Kiang or Tibetan wild ass (largest wild ass) throughout their shared range. These animals can weigh close to 450 kilos as well.

Whereas in Eastern Himalayas, snow leopards and tigers prey upon Takin (mostly Bhutan, Mishmi and Red takin) which can also weigh upto 400 kilos. Takin are unknown outside their range.

Anecdotally, there are stories of snow leopards attacking wild yaks from Mongolia which are significantly bigger than domesticated yaks. A person I spoke to also said there were some legends of the ghost aka snow leopard attacking a Bactrian Camel!!!

Personally speaking, they are easily the most spellbinding big cat considering where they live and the extreme things they have to do to find food (look at that video of a snow leopard tumbling more than 150 foot with a blue sheep) and mate.


Out of curiosity, is there any study of Leopards predating on adult Kiang?
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India Ashutosh Offline
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( This post was last modified: 05-26-2020, 10:46 AM by Ashutosh )

@Styx38, by leopard you mean snow leopard, right? Because leopards don’t share their habitat with Kiangs, but snow leopards do.

https://www.snowleopardnetwork.org/bibliography/Mallon_IPBSL_Ladakh_1984.pdf

It’s an old study, but there is mention of snow leopard preying upon Kiang in Tibet and Mongolia where their populations are bigger than in Ladakh. 

Snow leopards in Ladakh generally prefer Cliff-hugging ungulates - Himalayan Ibex, Blue sheep aka Bharal, the rare Himalayan Tahr and Markhor in Ladakh area. This is not to say they won’t prey upon more plain dwelling animals like Tibetan Gazelle, Kiang, Argali sheep and in winters will even eat pikas, Himalayan marmots and hares. The Mustang region of Nepal is very similar in topography and climate.

Because of these areas falling in the rain shadow region of Himalayas, snow leopards have only so many options. When you move eastward, snow leopards regularly venture below the tree line to get their prey and this opens up so many species for predation for example the musk deer. And, in Eastern Himalayas, their range overlaps with tigers, which means there is an overlap of prey species here like takin and goral.
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United States Styx38 Offline
Regular Member
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(05-26-2020, 10:45 AM)Ashutosh Wrote: @Styx38, by leopard you mean snow leopard, right? Because leopards don’t share their habitat with Kiangs, but snow leopards do.

https://www.snowleopardnetwork.org/bibliography/Mallon_IPBSL_Ladakh_1984.pdf

It’s an old study, but there is mention of snow leopard preying upon Kiang in Tibet and Mongolia where their populations are bigger than in Ladakh. 

Snow leopards in Ladakh generally prefer Cliff-hugging ungulates - Himalayan Ibex, Blue sheep aka Bharal, the rare Himalayan Tahr and Markhor in Ladakh area. This is not to say they won’t prey upon more plain dwelling animals like Tibetan Gazelle, Kiang, Argali sheep and in winters will even eat pikas, Himalayan marmots and hares. The Mustang region of Nepal is very similar in topography and climate.

Because of these areas falling in the rain shadow region of Himalayas, snow leopards have only so many options. When you move eastward, snow leopards regularly venture below the tree line to get their prey and this opens up so many species for predation for example the musk deer. And, in Eastern Himalayas, their range overlaps with tigers, which means there is an overlap of prey species here like takin and goral.

Interesting. Wild Asses are probably more dangerous than free-ranging or Wild Horses.  Their domestic counterparts are more aggressive towards small carnivores.

Anyway, here are some older accounts of Leopards predating on Horses.


*This image is copyright of its original author


Source: Mammals of the Soviet Union, Volume 2 Part 2 Carnivora (Hyenas and Cats)

One of the areas, the Badhyz Reserve, has various feral or free-ranging Horses.

"There are also some clear management actions needed, including, removal of the feral horse population before it increases any more, the importance of securing access to water sources outside the reserve for the kulan and providing infrastructural  and logistical support for the reserve staff by upgrading their equipment"


Kaczensky and Linnell. 2014. Rapid assessment of the mammalian community  in the Badhyz Ecosystem, Turkmenistan

So it seems a Leopard may have killed a free-ranging Horse, or many of them in Turkmenistan.

Some important Horse breeds there include:

Akhal-Teke Horse; WEIGHT: 900 to 1,000 pounds

https://www.thesprucepets.com/meet-the-akhal-teke-1886116

Also,the Iomud, which is stated to be up to 450 kg, though it is on a defunct source.
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India Ashutosh Offline
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@Styx38, depends of what you mean by smaller carnivores because the heaviest snow leopards (77 kilos) probably match the heaviest leopards (80-85 kilos) in this region.

It’s another reason I find strange that some people don’t consider snow leopards “Big cats” because they don’t roar even though they are heavier than few subspecies of leopards!! Who is going to hear them roar in such desolate places except their potential prey.
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United States Styx38 Offline
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(05-27-2020, 01:04 AM)Ashutosh Wrote: @Styx38, depends of what you mean by smaller carnivores because the heaviest snow leopards (77 kilos) probably match the heaviest leopards (80-85 kilos) in this region.

It’s another reason I find strange that some people don’t consider snow leopards “Big cats” because they don’t roar even though they are heavier than few subspecies of leopards!! Who is going to hear them roar in such desolate places except their potential prey.


I meant that Donkeys can attack small Carnivores like Foxes.

The Snow Leopard is medium sized. What is interesting is that while they are known for their agility, not too many people know that they can kill animals as large as 450 kg (1000 pound) Feral Horses, as well as free ranging Yak and wild Argali.
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