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1 August 2004 MOTHERHOOD INCREASES HUNTING SUCCESS IN SOUTHERN KALAHARI LEOPARDS
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Abstract

In prey-rich environments, leopard survival is ensured by an energy-maximizing, prey-selective strategy through which the leopard obtains the maximum amount of energy as food for the minimum amount of energy expended in hunting. In prey-poor environments, like the southern Kalahari, this is impossible. These leopards must use other strategies for survival. One strategy is maximizing the number of prey without selection for species. Hunger motivates hunting in all leopards, but in the prey-poor southern Kalahari it is hypothesized that female leopards with cubs must develop additional strategies to increase their own survival and that of their cubs. This study shows that these females increase their hunting success and expend less energy in hunting than other leopards by moving shorter distances before making a kill and by regularly killing a high frequency of those types of smaller prey that are more easy to kill. Motherhood therefore motivates female leopards with cubs to hunt more efficiently than other leopards in the prey-poor southern Kalahari.

Jdu P. Bothma and R. J. Coertze "MOTHERHOOD INCREASES HUNTING SUCCESS IN SOUTHERN KALAHARI LEOPARDS," Journal of Mammalogy 85(4), 756-760, (1 August 2004). https://doi.org/10.1644/BNS-010
Accepted: 1 October 2003; Published: 1 August 2004
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