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Journal of Arid Land

Article Title

Food habits of striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena) in a semi-arid conservation area of India

Abstract

Striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena) is a near-threatened large carnivore known to occur in arid and semi-arid landscapes in many parts of the world. Its population is declining globally and ecological information is required urgently to meet their conservation needs. We studied the diet pattern of the striped hyena in the semi-arid Gir National Park and Sanctuary (GNPS), western India. Prey items eaten by the striped hyena were identified from scats. Around 44.4% scats represented single to three mammalian preys while 55.6% of them represented four preys to seven preys. A variety of food items were identified including mammals, birds, insects and vegetable matters. Scats analysis showed that 63.91% diet of striped hyena was contributed by wild prey items, 20.94% by domestic prey and 3.31% by birds, whereas vegetable and insects contributed 9.92% and 1.93%, respectively. Diet diversity of the striped hyena computed by the Shannon-Weiner Index (H) was found to be 2.64. The presence of domestic mammals in the scat remains implied that the striped hyena might frequently visit human habitation in search for food and hence, a potential conflict between human and wildlife might arise. Reducing the dependence of hyena on domestic livestock is a challenge to ensure the survival of striped hyena outside the protected area.

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