Human - Leopard Conflict
Decline in prey species
Habitat loss or fragmentation
Increases in livestock and a decrease in natural habitat have inevitably resulted in livestock predation by leopards, and subsequent retaliation by herders. In the summer of 2003 in Mongolia, snow leopard predation caused the death of 20 horses (worth an average of US$100-150 each) in a WWF project area. Between 1996 and 2002 at least 16 snow leopards were reported killed in Zaskar in northern India, eight in one village alone.
The Amur leopard is particularly vulnerable in the Russian Far East, where farmers raise captive deer for human consumption and to produce antlers for the Asian medicine market. Deer are the natural prey preference for leopards, and in absence of wild prey, leopards venture into the deer farms in search of food. Owners of these farms are quick to protect their investment by eliminating leopards attacking their stock. Presently, the Amur leopard’s most immediate threat comes from such retaliatory or preventive killing.
In many countries, conflict killings and the trade in big cat parts go hand in hand; the bones and pelts of leopards killed primarily due to retaliation for livestock losses also enter illegal trade.