Panthera pardus is a widespread mammalian carnivore, with a very broad diet range. Therefore, it is often seen as needing less protection as compared with some other predator species. However, with a 37% reduction in historic range and some subspecies critically endangered, the leopard is a species that does indeed require certain conservation attention. In Southern Africa, there are several threats facing the leopard: habitat loss, poaching, as well as killings associated with leopard-human conflict (the latter being aggravated by poorly-stocked reserves where the animals reside). In setting aside formal protected areas for the leopard and its prey, it is important to plan and stock these reserves in such a manner so as to limit potential conflict with owners of surrounding farmlands or tribal land. Focusing on the average daily energetic consumption and expenditure of the leopard in Southern Africa, this paper seeks to determine how regular successful hunts can help maintain the animal. It was found from the study that there is a very close balance between the energy consumption and expenditure of the leopard. Depopulation of a varying intensity may result from a hunting success probability below 0.5. Leopards are unlikely to persist where hunting success is reduced to 0.1 due to prey shortage. This finding is believed to provide some preliminary guidance for leopard prey stocking rates in the future.
Key words: African leopard, energy expenditure, prey stocking rate, leopard-farmer conflict, conservation, predator-prey interaction.
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