Carnivores Research Paper

1838 Words 8 Pages
Presence of carnivores helps to maintain the integrity of ecosystems throughout the world (Soulè and Terborgh, 1999). Many carnivores are capable of altering trophic structure and biodiversity through a process known as top-down control (Elmhagen and Rushton, 2007). Through this, carnivores are able to prevent the overabundance of herbivores. If uncontrolled, an explosion in herbivore population density would increase the grazing pressure that would ultimately threat the survival of the herbivores as well. Thus, carnivores can provide ecological boundaries that protect weaker competitors from competitive exclusion (Miller et al., 2001). Some carnivores are regarded as keystone species due to the enormous ecological effects they impose on other …show more content…
Most of the studies on leopards have been done in Africa (Bailey 1993; Bertram 1982; Hamilton 1976; Jenny 1996). However, some information on different aspects of biology of Indian leopards is available (Edgaonkar, 2008; Sunquist 1981). Total effective global population of leopard has been estimated at greater than 50000 breeding individuals. Based on decline of estimates of population density and geographic distribution, it is listed as a near-threatened (NT) species of by the IUCN red list. In India, it is protected under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act (WPA, 1972) under the highest level of …show more content…
Hence their dentition is adopted accordingly with prominent canines for tearing and premolars for shearing of meat (Stevens and Hume, 1995; Kirk et al., 2000). The movement of jaws restricts their capacity to grind food as they are unable to move their jaws cranio-caudally and latero-medially (Kirk et al., 2000). The taste buds of the facial nerve are more specifically sensitive to amino acids and are unresponsive to sugars (Bradshaw, 1996). Hence, foods containing animal products or fats, protein, meat extracts or certain free amino acids are most preferred diets of felids (Kirk et al., 2000; NRC, 2006). Feline lacks salivary amylase and pancreatic amylase activity is also very low; hence they are not adapted to utilize carbohydrate based diets (Kienzle, 1993a; Kirk et al., 2000). The activity of hexokinase and glucokinase enzymes is minimal to absent (Washizu et al., 1999; Tanaka et al., 2005). They also lack the enzyme fructokinase. As these enzymes are necessary for the metabolism of simple sugars, felids cannot metabolize large loads of glucose (MacDonald et al., 1984; Zoran, 2002). Hence, they fully depend upon gluconeogenesis to obtain energy for maintaining their blood glucose level from glucogenic amino acids and glycerol. The sugar transport systems in the feline intestinal brush border are non adaptive to varying levels of dietary carbohydrate (Buddington et al., 1991). However, D-glucose transport across the

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