Diet of Bengal Tigers (Panthera tigris tigris) in Chitwan National Park, Nepal


  • Shivish Bhandari
  • Mukesh K Chalise
  • Chiranjibi P Pokharel



Chital, diet, livestock, scat analysis, Bengal tiger


We studied the diet of the Bengal tigers (Panthera tigris tigris) in Chitwan National Park, Nepal, by identifying 109 prey items from 85 tiger scats. Tigers in this region fed upon eight different mammal species. Chital (Axis axis) was the major prey with a frequency of 45% of the Tigers’ diet. The occurrence of other prey species included sambar (Cervus unicolor, 23%), wild pig (Sus scrofa, 15%), hog deer (Axis porcinus, 9%), barking deer (Muntiacus muntjak, 4%), and gaur (Bos gaurus, 2%). Tigers also hunted livestock, but this prey comprised a small component of the relative biomass (buffalo 5% and cow 2%). Our study suggests that the tiger depends mostly upon wild prey for its subsistence in the Chitwan National Park, but will also sporadically hunt livestock.


Ackerman, B.B., Lindzey, F.G. & Hernker, T.P. (1984) Cougar food habit in
southern Utah. Journal of Wildlife Management, 48, 147–155.
Andheria, A.P., Karanth, K.U. & Kumar, N.S. (2007) Diet and prey profiles
of three sympatric large carnivores in Bandipur Tiger Reserve,
India. Journal of Zoology, 273, 169–175.
Bagchi, S., Goyal, S.P. & Sankar, K. (2003) Prey abundance and Prey selection
by tigers (Panthera tigris) in a semi - arid, dry forest in
western India. Journal of Zoology, 260, 285–290.
Baker, P.J., Boitani, L., Harris, S., Saunders, G. & White, P.C.L. (2008)
Terrestrial carnivores and human food production: impact and
management. Mammal Review, 38, 123–166.
Bhattarai, B.P. & Kindlmann, P. (2012) Interactions between Bengal
tiger (Panthera tigris) and leopard (Panthera pardus): implications
for their conservation. Biodiversity and Conservation, 21,
Biswas, S. & Sankar, K. (2002) Prey abundance and food habit of tigers
(Panthera tigris tigris) in Pench National Park, Madhya Pradesh,
India. Journal of Zoology, 256, 411–420.
Dhakal, M., Karki, M., Jnawali, S.R., Subedi, N., Pradhan, N.M.B., Malla,
S., et al. (2014) Status of tiger and prey in Nepal. Department
of National Park and Wildlife Conservation, Kathmandu, Nepal.
Dinerstein, E. (1980) An ecological survey of the Royal Karnali-Bardia
Wildlife Reserve, Nepal. Part III: Ungulate populations. Biological
Conservation, 18, 5–38.
Grey, J. (2009) Prey selection by tigers (Panthera tigris tigris) in the Karnali
floodplain of Bardia National Park. MSc thesis, Diploma of
Imperial College, UK.
Hayward, M.W., Jedrzejewski, W. & Jedrzewska, B. (2012) Prey preferences
of the tiger Panthera tigris. Journal of Zoology, 286,
Karanth, K.U. & Sunquist, M. (1995) Prey selection by tiger, leopard and
dhole in tropical forests. Journal of Animal Ecology, 64, 439–450.
Karki, J.B. (2011) Occupancy and abundance of Tigers and their prey
in the Terai Arc Landscape, Nepal. PhD thesis, Forest Research
Institute University, India.
Karki, J.B., Pandav, B., Jnawali, S.R., Shrestha, R., Pradhan, N.M.B.,
Lamichane, et al. (2013) Estimating the abundance of Nepal’s
largest population of tigers Panthera tigris. Oryx, 49, 1–7.
Khorozyan, I., Ghoddousi, A., Soofi, M. & Waltert, M. (2015) Big cats kill
more livestock when wild prey reaches a minimum threshold.
Biological Conservation, 192, 268–275.
Kumaraguru, A., Saravanamuthu, R., Brinda K. & Asokan, S. (2011) Prey
preference of large carnivores in Anamalai Tiger reserve, India.
European Journal of Wildlife Research, 57, 627–637.
Lamichhane, S. & Jha, B.R. (2015) Prey selection by Bengal tiger Panthera
tigris tigris (Mammalia: Carnivora: Felidae) of Chitwan
National Park, Nepal. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 7, 8081–8088.
Link, W.A. & Karanth, K.U. (1994) Correcting for over dispersion in tests
of prey selectivity. Ecology, 75, 2456–2459.
Maharjan, A. (2011). Principal diet analysis and habitat suitability mapping
of Royal Bengal tiger Panthera tigris tigris in Parsa Wildlife
Reserve. M.Sc. thesis, Tribhuvan University, Nepal.
Moore, T.D., Spence, L.E. & Dugnolle, C.E. (1974) Identification of the
dorsal guard hairs of some mammals of Wyoming. Hepworth,
WG (ed.). Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Wyoming
McDougal C. (1977) The face of the tiger. Rivington Books, London, UK.
Ramakrishnan, U., Coss, R.G. & Pelkey, N.W. (1999) Tiger decline caused
by the reduction of large ungulate prey: evidence from a study
of leopard diets in southern India. Biological Conservation, 89,
Ramesh, T., Snehalatha, V., Sankar, K. & Qureshi, Q. (2009) Food habits
and prey selection of tiger and leopard in Mudumalai Tiger
Reserve, Tamil Nadu, India. J Sci Trans Environ Technov, 2, 170–
Reddy, C.S. & Yosef, R. (2016) Living on the Edge: Attitudes of Rural
Communities toward Bengal Tigers (Panthera tigris) in Central
India. Anthrozoos, 29, 311–322.
Reddy, H.S., Srinivasulu, C. & Rao, K.T. (2004) Prey selection by the Indian
tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) in Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger
Reserve, India. Mammalian Biology, 69,384–391.
Seidensticker, J. (1976a) Ungulates populations in Chitwan Valley, Nepal.
Biological Conservation, 10, 183–210.
Seidensticker, J. (1976b) On the Ecological Separation between Tigers
and Leopards. Biotropica, 8, 225–234.
Sekhar, N.U. (2003) Local people’s attitudes towards conservation and
wildlife tourism around Sariska Tiger Reserve, India. Journal of
Environmental Management, 69, 339–347.
Smith, J.L.D., Ahearn, S.C. & McDougal, C. (1998) Landscape analysis
of tiger distribution and habitat quality in Nepal. Conservation
Biology, 12, 1338–1346.
Sharma, S., Jhala, Y. & Sawarkar, V.B. (2005) Identification of individual
tigers (Panthera tigris) from their pugmarks. Journal of Zoology,
267, 9–18.
Stoen, O. & Wegge, P. (1996) Prey selection and prey removal by tiger
(Panthera tigris) during the dry season in lowland Nepal. Mammalia,
60, 363–373.
Sunquist, M.E. (1981) The social organization of tigers (Panthera tigris
) in Royal Chitwan National Park. Smithsonian contribution to
Zoology, 336, 1–98.
Wegge, P., Odden, M., Pokharel, C.P. & Storaas, T. (2009) Predator-prey
relationship and responses of ungulates and their predators to
the establishment of protected areas: a case study of tigers,
leopards and their prey in Bardia National Park, Nepal. Biological
Conservation, 142, 189–202.
Zhang, C., Zhang, M. & Stott, P. (2013) Does prey density limit Amur
tiger Panthera tigris altaica recovery in northeastern China?
Wildlife Biology, 19, 452–461.







How to Cite

Bhandari, S., Chalise, M. K., & Pokharel, C. P. (2017). Diet of Bengal Tigers (Panthera tigris tigris) in Chitwan National Park, Nepal. European Journal of Ecology, 3(1), 80-84.