Journal of Zoology

Home-range and movements of leopards (Panthera pardus) on a livestock ranch in Kenya

F. Mizutani a1c1p1 and P. A. Jewell a1
a1 Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EJ, U.K.


The ranches of Laikipia District, Kenya, provide a very important refuge and conservation area for wildlife. Leopards (Panthera pardus) are the most numerous large predator and create problems by killing livestock. Both small and young wild ungulates, as well as small domestic stock, provide prey so that the leopards achieve unusually high densities. This study, using radio-tagging techniques, examines the spatial relationships between resident and transient leopards on a 200 km² ranch in the Lolldaiga Hills. About 25 leopards (including estimates of subadults and cubs) live on the ranch. Typically, females occupy exclusive home-ranges of mean extent 14.0 km² although there is some overlap with subadult females. The home-ranges of resident males, with a mean of 32.8 km², do not overlap each other but do overlap female territories. Transient males move through the area. Analysis of home-range and home-range occupancy, was carried out using three methods: minimum convex polygon, grid cell, and harmonic mean. The information provided by these three different methods is compared, and the social status of the leopards is discussed.

(Accepted June 10 1997)

Key Words: leopards; home-range; solitariness; Laikipia wildlife.

c1 Address on the ranch for correspondence: Lolldaiga Hills Ltd., P.O. Box 26, Nanyuki, Kenya.
p1 Present address: St John's College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1TP