TitlePopulations and activity patterns of clouded leopards and marbled cats in Dampa Tiger Reserve, India
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsSingh P, Macdonald DW
Date Published10/2017

The rapidly declining tropical forests of Asia support a diversity of felid species, many of which are rare and little known. We used camera traps in Dampa Tiger Reserve (TR), Mizoram, northeastern India, to estimate population density and describe activity patterns of 2 rare felids, the clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) and marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata). With a survey effort of 4,962 trap nights, we obtained 84 photo-captures of clouded leopards and 36 of marbled cats. We used spatially explicit capture-recapture methods to estimate population densities of both species. Using the Bayesian approach implemented in SPACECAP, we derived estimates of 5.14 (+/- 1.80 SD)/100 km(2) for clouded leopards and 5.03 (+/- 2.07 SD)/100 km(2) for marbled cats. Using camera-trap images, we compared diel activity patterns and activity overlaps for these 2 rare felids, together with 3 other sympatric carnivores, by estimating a coefficient of overlap between species. Among felids, clouded leopards and golden cats (Catopuma temminckii) displayed the highest overlap in activity, whereas marbled cats and leopard cats (Prionailurus bengalensis) showed the lowest, with marbled cats being primarily diurnal and leopard cats nocturnal. Our study provides the first density estimates from continental Southeast Asia for marbled cats and one of the highest recorded densities for clouded leopards. These results are of special significance since Dampa sustains an ecosystem that has in recent times undergone near extirpation of large predators.