Lahkar, D., Ahmed, M.F., Begum, R.H., Das, S.K. and Harihar, A. (2021), Inferring patterns of sympatry among large carnivores in Manas National Park – a prey‐rich habitat influenced by anthropogenic disturbances. Anim Conserv. https://doi.org/10.1111/acv.12662
Inferring the mechanisms that facilitate sympatry amongst large mammalian carnivores in anthropogenically altered habitats is critical if conservation initiatives aimed to recover populations are to be effective. In this study, we assessed the utilization of space, time and prey resources by tigers Panthera tigris, leopards P. pardus and dholes Cuon alpinus in Manas National Park (MNP), India – a site where prey densities are not limiting, yet anthropogenic influences alter the spatial and temporal behaviour of prey. We use photographic capture data and predator scats collected over three sampling years (2014–15, 2015–16 and 2016–17) to assess patterns of (a) spatial use using a multispecies species occupancy framework, (b) time–activity patterns and overlap between predators and prey using non‐parametric circular kernel‐density functions, (c) fine‐scale spatio‐temporal behaviour by comparing time‐to‐encounters of subsequent events and (d) predator diets by analysing prey remains in predator scats. Our results highlight that the predators segregate through fine‐scale spatio‐temporal avoidance rather than displaying population‐level changes in space‐use, activity patterns or food habits. Overlap in space‐use between tigers and leopards was high and time–activity patterns of the predators closely matched those of prey, suggesting that predators likely maximize resource acquisition in this prey‐rich environment. Ungulate prey dominated the diet of predators, resulting in the high dietary overlap. From our results, we infer patterns of sympatry among large carnivores in the face of anthropogenic influences and highlight the need to understand interspecific interactions within a community before initiating conservation actions aimed at recovering these endangered species.