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Saving the Common Leopards in Pakistan

 

help save this symbol of the Galliat

The recent news of leopards turning man eaters in the Galliat areas of NWFP has brought into focus the need to  implement strategies that protect both the people and their wildlife heritage


Background:

Pakistan is home to two of the world's big cats, the common leopard (Panthera pardus) and the snow leopard (Uncia uncia).  The high mountains of the Himalaya, Karakoram and Hindukush are home to the rare and elusive snow leopard (local name Barfani Cheetah), a cat so secretive few have been privileged enough to see a glimpse of it in the wild. The resourceful and adaptable common leopard (local name Guldar, Tendwa, Cheetah) while not so secretive and elusive as the snow leopard inhabits the lower mountain ranges of northern Pakistan. The common leopard’s range extends from the Himalayan forest regions to the broken and hilly mountainous country of Baluchistan and Sind Kohistan. The better-forested areas of the Himalaya, particularly the Galliat areas of N.W.F.P are the last stronghold of the leopard in Pakistan. Elsewhere, the common leopard is extremely rare, having been hunted almost to the point of extinction as a trophy by hunters and as a pest by locals. It is generally believed that the sub species found in Pakistan is Panthera pardus fusca. However, it is possible that two sub species are found in Pakistan demarcated by the river Indus. To the east of river Indus, in Azad Kashmir, Kaghan valley, Galliat areas and Murree hills the Indian Leopard (Panthera pardus fusca) is found. The second sub species, the Persian Leopard (Pathera pardus saxicolor) is thought to inhabit the regions west of the Indus in Swat, Dir, Indus Kohistan, and Baluchistan.

While much attention nationally and internationally has been focused on the conservation of snow leopard in Pakistan, none of this has happened with the common leopard.  The recent killings of 6 women by man eating leopards in the Galliat areas of N.W.F.P, Pakistan has brought the common leopard in the limelight. During the past 4-5 months there have been increasing reports of leopard-man conflict in the Galliat areas, with casualties on both side. While depredation on domestic livestock by leopards in common, this is the first time leopards have turned man-eaters in Pakistan. There has never been any recorded instance of leopards turning man eaters in Pakistan. Out of fear the authorities have started a shoot to kill policy, without taking into consideration the negative effect of this. So far 2 leopards thought to be man-eaters have been shot, even though laboratory tests have negated the wildlife departments claim of man-eaters. Now the provincial environment department is considering a wildlife directorate proposal to introduce leopard trophy hunting in the Galliat region, according to official sources. The wildlife department insists that since the population of common leopards in the Galliat region has doubled in the last five years, leopard trophy hunting would entail dual benefits for the local communities as it would help them earn foreign exchange as well as lower the threat posed to human life. This is totally ill-founded and unsubstantiated. There is still not a viable population of leopards in Galliat areas and it is still a protected species. Besides there are other viable options to solving this problem instead of killing them in cold blood.  Placing the common leopard on the schedule of game animals will not only aggravate the problem but will expose the animals to the threat of illegal hunting. The Government of Pakistan, NWFP Wildlife Department, the affected local communities and other stakeholders need to come up with a solution that not only protects these cats but also respects the right of people to survive. We have already lost the Lion, Tiger and the Cheetah from Pakistan. Lets make sure this symbol of the Galliat forests doesn't follow in their footsteps.

For more info please click on the sections below:

 

The latest:

Leopard enters Khanpur Town
E-mail from Mr. Wassi-ur-Rehman,
delivered to www.wildlifeofpakistan.com

A Common Leopard entered into the Khanpur town a few days ago and attacked on a herd of cattle of nomads. Early in the morning when the herders were driving their herds to the forest a leopard attacked one
of the herds and killed one young buffalo. At that time the herd was moving in a street at the western end of the town. Luckily the herders were un armed at that time other wise the beast might have been killed.
Most of the wild animals are found wondering around the human settlements now a days in search of food as nothing is left in the forests. The lush green forests of Hazara have been converted in to bare brownish mountains and steeps.

 

Leopard caught from Pakhi Bala village, 30 kms from the north western city of Peshawar 
From BBC Urdu Service
06/23/2006
http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/story/2006/06/060623_cheetah_peshawar_as.shtml

Pakistani employees of the Wild Life Department treat an injured leopard in Peshawar, 28 June 2006. The two year old common Leopard was captured by the Wildlife Department with the help of tribesmen from the Pakhi Bala village, some 30 kms from the north western city of Peshawar.


 

 

Rare leopard shot dead in village near Muzaffarabad
Dawn, By Tariq Naqash
6/2/2006
http://www.dawn.com.pk/2006/06/02/top6.htm

MUZAFFARABAD, June 1: Earthquake survivors in a mountain village near here have shot dead a rare leopard saying it threatened their lives. Now questions are being raised and the wildlife authorities have decided to hold an inquiry.

The killing took place in Sarli Saccha village, some 25 kilometers northeast of here on Wednesday, according to the AJK wildlife department official Naeem Iftikhar Dar. “The leopard known as Panthera Pardus, had left its habitat and descended on the village where he was shot dead by villagers allegedly in self-defense,” he told Dawn.

Sarli Saccha is located within a wildlife sanctuary - Machiara National Park - spread over an area of 33,437 acres, close to the epicentre of last year’s catastrophe.

The park is being developed with a $3.18 million grant from the Washington-based Global Environment Facility. The Azad Kashmir government is contributing around $0.25 million. Mr Dar said the loss could have been avoided had the villagers been aware of ways of pushing the carnivore back to its habitat.

“If they had set off fire-crackers or beaten drums the animal might have gone back to its habitat,” he said. The official said an inquiry committee had been constituted to probe into the villagers’ claims that the animal was killed for fear of their lives.

“If the committee didn’t find any evidence to support the villagers’ claims, then the accused will have to face the penalty under the Wildlife Act which includes imprisonment of up to six months and fine varying from case to case,” he said.

“But there is no penalty if it is established that the wild animal is killed in self-defense,” he added.

Mr Dar said the wildlife department staff had flayed the skin of the animal for stuffing with the help of a natural history museum in Pakistan.

The wildlife laws ban trade of wildlife species or any of their parts.

Two years back, the AJK wildlife authorities had fined a villager Rs40,000 for killing a similar species.

Panthera Pardus is found in the mountains of Kashmir, adjoining Murree hills and parts of the North-West Frontier Province.

Although no correct census has been held in any part of Pakistan to determine its population, Mr Dar said that indirect evidence showed that its population had increased in the AJK over the past six or seven years.

 

E-mail from Mr. Wassi-ur-Rehman, regarding leopard killing of 4/15/2006 near Abottabad
delivered to www.wildlifeofpakistan.com

Dear All,
Another Leopard is killed in Gallyat by a local herder. As per News published in Daily Shamal (Abbottabad) Dated 15Th April. a local herder killed a leopard, which attacked his goats in Gallyat.

If we see the figures and reports of the last two years more than 20 leopards are killed/captured. The one couple requires about an area of 50Km, and considering the whole area of Gallyat, Muree, Margalla Hills
and other parts of Haripur/Abbottabad there is not enough space of hundreds of leopards.

Keeping in view the ground realities one can easily guess that hardly a few leopards are left behind in the region. Which are also under threats and need immediate attention/protection, which is not possible in present circumstances. It seems that we may not find this beautiful cat in this region after a couple of years.

THANKS
WASSI-UR-REHMAN
Co-ordinator,
Dubran Welfare & Conservation Society
Dubran DISTT. ABBOTTABAD, PAKISTAN

 

NWFP Wildlife dept recovers three leopard cubs
The News
02/07/2006
http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/feb2006-daily/07-02-2006/metro/p3.htm

PESHAWAR: The NWFP Wildlife department has recovered three leopard cubs from the residents of Abbottabad and Haripur districts and was trying to reunite them with their mothers.

A cub was recovered from the Bagh village of Abbottabad and the other two from the Narah village of Haripur, said the chief conservator NWFP Wildlife department, Dr Mumtaz Malik, while talking to the news agency here on Monday.

He said the Wildlife department officials received reports about possession of leopard cubs with some local people and took them into their custody. The cubs, he said, were very young and their survival without their mothers seems to be very difficult and the Wildlife department officials were feeding them milk with feeders, said Dr Mumtaz Malik.

The chief conservator said he has directed the department to reunite these cubs with their mothers to ensure their survival and help them live in their natural habitat. Dr Malik said that usually leopard left their cubs when the mother runs away due to some fear. In most of the cases, he continued, the cubs chase their mother and join her. He said the department has recently handed over a leopard to the Karachi Safari Park.

 

Baby leopard caught by villagers
Dawn, By Our Correspondent
1/27/2006
http://www.dawn.com/2006/01/28/nat25.htm

ABBOTTABAD, Jan 27: Villagers of Bagh in Galyat caught a two-month-old leopard on Wednesday evening and handed it over to wildlife officials.

Villager Sudheer Abbasi while on his way home in Bagh when he was attacked by the baby leopard. He quickly covered the animal with his shawl and with the help of two other villagers caught it.

Last year at least nine people were attacked and killed by leopards in Galyat.

The wildlife department with the help of local police had killed two leopards to save the lives of people of the area. One leopard was also caught in the area which was recently gifted to the Karachi city government.

According to wildlife staff, it was still undecided what to do with the baby leopard. A number of requests from various zoos of the country were lying pending for such animals with the wildlife department.

 

Wild leopard joins city zoo for breeding
Daily Times,
1/19/2006
http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=...9-1-2006_pg7_24

LAHORE: A young female leopard caught from Kashmir Point in Murree has been brought to the Lahore Zoo for captivity, Lahore Zoo Director Yousaf Pal told Daily Times on Wednesday. Now there were three female leopards in the zoo, he added.

A number of leopards have been wandering around in Galliat where they have killed human beings and livestock. They killed six women in Thandiani, Qalandarabad, Beran Gali, Bakot and Singal Kot areas in a series of attacks last year.

Wildlife Director General Rao Iftakhar said a Punjab Wildlife Department team tranquillised the leopard when it came into public area near Kashmir Point. He said it seemed that there were three leopards and one of them came into the area. He said the basic reason of bringing the leopardess to the zoo was gene-alteration through breeding. He said that Wildlife Department teams always preferred to push wild animals into the jungle by making loud noises because it was a crime to kill them.

A wildlife expert said that instead of capturing wild animals for breeding, the Wildlife Department could use animals already being kept in zoos of other provinces. A wild animal would not mingle with those kept in zoos, the expert added. The expert said that the NWFP Wildlife Department had a number of leopards and they could be used for breeding. The wildlife expert said that the practice of catching wild animals from the wild and keeping them in zoos is frowned upon now.

 

Killer leopard to be housed in Karachi’s Safari Park  
Dawn, By Rashid Javed
1/9/2006
http://www.dawn.com/2006/01/09/nat35.htm

ABBOTTABAD, Jan 8: The wildlife department in Abbottabad has handed over a killer snow leopard to the Karachi city government. The leopard, which mauled at least five women in the heavily-forested Galyat region last year, will be housed in Karachi’s sprawling Safari Park.

The animal was later transported to Karachi by the national air carrier.

On Aug 25, 2005, the snow leopard was captured by PAF personnel and wildlife staff near the PAF Base Kalabagh and kept in Abbottabad by the wildlife department until a suitable home could be found for it.

The wildlife department said it had received several requests from different parks and zoos in the country but it had decided to accept the former nazim Naimatullah Khan’s earlier request for zoo animals.

The leopard, estimated to be 10 years old, was handed over by DFO Muhammad Hussain to a two-member team from Karachi which included Safari Park’s deputy director Dr Syed Kazim Hussain, and Tariq Nasser, the district officer (Safari Park-Karachi).

Wildlife officials said that not a single attack was reported following the leopard’s capture. They said that experts presumed that it was the same animal which was involved in a string of deadly attacks on villagers last year.

The wildlife department hired the services of seasoned hunters and two leopards were killed by the joint team of wildlife and police and some cages were also kept to trap the leopard.

 

Leopard caught after 3-month struggle
The News, Muhammad Anis
12/23/2005

ISLAMABAD: After hectic efforts of more than three months, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) succeeded in catching a wild leopard late Wednesday night.

Marghazar Zoo Director Raja Javed told ‘The News’ that the male leopard, after a long absence, has been spotted around the zoo during the last few nights.

He said that the leopard jumped into the zoo from the backside of children’s park late Wednesday night. It entered a cage, and the zoo staff closed its door.

The official said that previously, the leopard killed some animals after breaking their cages. "There was also a danger to human life and the pedestrians and trekkers were requested not go near Marghazar after sunset," he said.

Raja Javed said that the leopard was angry and furious inside the cage. It has injured himself by striking against iron fence of the cage, but its wounds are not serious.

The Capital Development Authority is yet to take a decision whether the leopard should be released in thick jungles of Hazara or kept in the Marghazar zoo.

The zoo director said that the CDA has been consulting experts as to what should be done with the leopard. He was of the view that the leopard could harm human beings if it is released in the open. "There is also a proposal that the leopard should be kept in the zoo," he said.

http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/dec2005-daily/23-12-2005/metro/i18.htm

 

Experts' team deputed to catch leopard
Dawn
9/2/2005

PESHAWAR, Sept 1: The NWFP wildlife department has sent its team of experts to catch a leopard that has been attacking the Marghzar zoo in Islamabad for a few days.

"We have sent our team of experts to Margalla Hills with instruction of catching the animal alive," Wildlife Chief Conservator Dr Mumtaz Malik said.

He said that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) had sought help from the NWFP wildlife department to trap the leopard which has caused panic in the area after attacking the zoo and killing a deer.—APP

http://www.dawn.com/2005/09/02/nat27.htm

 

CDA warns public against presence of leopard on Margalla Hills
The News, Muhammad Anis
9/1/2005
ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA), while stepping up its efforts to catch a male leopard that has been attacking the Marghzar Zoo for the last three days, has cautioned people to restrict their movement around the zoo and Daman-e-Koh after sunset.

The CDA has called experts from the NWFP Forest Department, Punjab Ministry of Environment and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to catch the animal alive that had killed a black female deer by jumping into open cages late Tuesday night.

"So far, no human being has been attacked by the leopard but we are warning visitors to stop their on foot movement near the zoo and Daman-e-Koh after sunset," CDA Director General Environment Mazhar Hussain told ‘The News’.

An official of the World Wildlife Fund Richard Gistin has given tips to the CDA official for catching the leopard alive.

Mazhar Hussain said that they have laid some traps at spots where the leopard had come twice during the last three days. "The presence of the female leopard prompted the male leopard to come to the Marghazar Zoo after sunset," he said.

The CDA director-general environment said that he was hopeful of catching the leopard late Wednesday night or Thursday. "Our teams are on patrol around the zoo and on tracks and roads up to Daman-e-Koh to warn people against the presence of a leopard," he said.

The CDA official said that experts have acquired five tranquilliser guns to make the leopard unconscious so that he could be caught alive. "We would release the leopard in thick jungles of Abbottabad," he said.

CDA Director Environment Malik Oliya Khan told ‘The News’ that there are at least five to six leopards on Margalla Hills, but none of them entered the urban area of Islamabad. He said that people should not try to run after seeing the leopard, as it would motivate it to attack.

http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/sep2005- … tro/l1.htm

 

Leopard attacks another girl in Kalabagh
The News, By Kosar Naqvi
8/25/2005
ABBOTTABAD: The bloodthirsty leopard in the mountainous region of Kalabagh (Gallyat) Wednesday attacked another woman after silence of few months.

The ill-fated victim is identified as Faiza Bibi daughter of Late Mushtaq. She was later shifted to the surgical ward of Ayub Hospital Complex, where according to doctors her condition was out of danger.

According to Eyewitnesses, the 17-year old student was attacked by the leopard near Intermediate College at Kalabagh when she was on her way to a local school Wednesday morning. The girl raised hue and cry and gets some response from locals as well as employees of Pakistan Air Force (FAF) Kalabagh.

After injuring her face and head, leopard escaped from the site. The badly injured girl was brought to PAF hospital, where she was provided medical cover and later shifted to CMH Abbottabad. DFO Wild Life Syed Safdar Ali Shah on contact confirmed the incident and told that he was away from the office due to election duty. However he told that concerned staff was already asked to move Kalabagh to see the situation along with cages etc. Locals on retaliation have expressed their anger and blocked the Abbottabad- Murree road for some time, which was re-opened after reconciliation.

It may be recalled here that Wild life department have killed two leopards after continuous complaints of attacking in different localities. Their histopathology reports revealed that they were not man-eaters. On the other hand leopards have killed six women in different parts of the area.

Many ask why do the leopards attack humans now when such incidents have not happened with such persistence in the past? These cats have been around for some time now. In the early nineties, when their number was dwindling, the government introduced some more into the wild.

The confusion about the leopards is propounded by the fact that the local populace insists on calling them cheetahs, which they are not. Wild life officials claim that rapid urbanization, even the monkeys, which are abundant in this area, have gravitated towards the populated areas because people offer them food, which created scarcity of food.

Wildlife department has also planning to introduce the leopards trophy hunting, with the people of area sharing in the proceeds as has been done in the case of the Markhor in some other parts of the country.

http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/aug2005- … main11.htm

 

Terror in the mountains
By Ayaz Ahmed Khan

Galliat leopards are normally friendly animals, and had not hurt any humans for decades. They are now starving because man has invaded their habitat. Ayaz Ahmed Khan gives an account of how two leopards were killed by wildlife department workers after six women were attacked and killed by a leopard

The Ayubia National Park and the forests of Galliat in Mansehra division of the NWFP are habitats of precious animal species the threatened common leopard, monkeys, foxes, and cheer and monal pheasants.

According to a wildlife census, out of 80,000 leopards worldwide, about 18,000 are found in south and south-east Asia. Eighty per cent of these animals are found in Indian forests. The successful wildlife conservation programmes in India have helped in saving the common leopard and increasing its numbers.

In the Galliat forests, which include 8,000 acres of the Ayub National Park, there are only 30 leopards. Two were recently killed, after six local women were reportedly killed by a leopard.

Post-mortem and laboratory tests of the suspected leopards, one 12 years old and the other a two-year-old cub, failed to establish that they were the animals involved in the killings. The cub was unnecessarily killed by wildlife rangers, with the help of a sharpshooter from Lahore.

Due to the killings, NWFP Wildlife Department has made a proposal for making hunting of leopards legal. This will wipe out the few existing leopards in the Galliat and Ayubia forests. National awareness is required to save the endangered animal. The NWFP government should reject the proposal in the interest of the animals.

The killing of the six women led to protests by infuriated villagers who blame the NWFP Wildlife Department for releasing leopards in the adjoining forests and not making feeding arrangements nor taking steps to protect womenfolk who go into the forests to cut wood and collect grass. The officials deny these allegations.

Leopards prey on the rhesus monkeys, but in summer the monkeys go down to the villages and the roads, where they are fed by tourists and restaurant owners. Hungry leopards sometimes enter villages in search of food. The starved leopards then kill goats, poultry and cattle. Why some leopards have become man-eaters is a question that needs to be answered.

On June 30, a woman and her daughter-in-law were busy cutting grass in the Thandiani forest, when a leopard attacked the woman from the rear and killed her. Her crouching position may have made her look like a sitting monkey. Terrified, the daughter-in-law ran but the leopard chased her, caught her by the leg and killed her, too. The villagers were shocked and angry, believing the rumor that the leopard had been released by the wildlife department.

Sensing the anger of the locals, the department officials avoided visiting the village for three days after the incident. The next incident took place on Thursday, July 2, when a leopard attacked and carried away a dog in Sialkot village near Thandiani.

The attack on a 12-year-old girl took place near Pirangali village. A mother and her daughter were returning with bundles of wood on their heads from the nearby forest. The leopard attacked and killed the girl, who was walking at some distance behind her mother.

Realizing that the girl was not with her, the mother went back and found her child dead and badly mauled. The police informed NWFP Wildlife Department officials, who delayed their visit to the village for fear of retribution.

On Monday July 4, a leopard killed a woman who was busy collecting pine needles from the dry bed of a stream near village Maulia, which is four kilometres from Bakot police station. The next day, July 5, another woman was killed by a leopard near Sri Kot village adjacent to the Bakot police station.

A girls lucky escape
The common Galliat leopards numbering less than fifty are now threatened by humans. After the killing of six women in the area and a girl again being attacked and seriously injured, on August 24 people living in the surrounding villages are angry and are determined to kill the leopards. There have been over a dozen attacks including two incidents in which a boy in Qalandarabad and the girl in Kalabagh were injured. In addition to these attacks on humans, there have been several leopard attacks on cattle as well.

The latest leopard attack on fifteen-year old Faiza Bibi occurred near the PAF base at 7.10 am. The girl, on her way to the madressah, was walking on a jungle track when the leopard attacked her from behind. The beast clawed her head, tore off part of her scalp, and caused serious injuries to her face, neck and head. Two Pakistan Air Force employees, who were walking ahead, heard the girls screams and rushed to help her. The leopard had attacked her twice in an effort to throw her on the ground to kill her. Luckily, the girl had kept running and screaming, and this saved her life.

Seeing the men, the leopard growled loudly, and disappeared into the forest. Faiza Bibi was rushed to the Pakistan Air Force Hospital at PAF base Kalabagh, where a doctor took two and a half hours to stitch 61 deep cuts and wounds on her face, neck and back of the head. The leopards claws had gone into the sides of the girls eyes and she was very lucky that her neck did not break when the heavy beast jumped on her neck and head. She was referred to CMH Abbottabad, where surgeons after further treatment declared her condition stable.

Leopards normally prowl and crawl stealthily in the cover of the bushes and grass before attacking. However, this attack took place in a comparatively open area, which is close to the road and the Kalabagh bazaar.

After the attack, a large group of armed PAF officers and men including the base commander, reached the place and started a search for the beast. Meanwhile, the area became tense as people closed their shops and armed themselves with guns, rifles and pickaxes to kill the leopard. They blamed the NWFP Wildlife Department for releasing a large number of leopards in the area, and for not doing anything to save the people from this menace. They threatened to block the main highway, demanding that the leopards be exterminated. Later, delegations of local ulema and politicians met the base commander, who pacified them by promising to do everything possible to remove their fears.

The NWFP Wildlife Range Officer brought a specially made cage to the attack site to trap the leopard. A goat was tied inside the cage in the evening. The leopard attacked the goat at about 9.30 pm, and tore away one complete leg and a part of the goats abdomen. This leopard was clever enough not to enter the trapdoor of the cage and was thus not trapped. Unfortunately no one was present to kill the animal then.

After this incident another cage carrying a live goat was installed close to the previous cage. Officials are optimistic that they will be able to trap the leopard. They have come prepared with a tranquillizer gun, and do not intend to kill the trapped leopard, till it is verified that it is the attacker - A. A. K.

This woman was collecting wild spinach, while her little boy was sitting close by. The leopard caught the crouching woman by her neck and killed her. The child was not harmed.

SHO Bakot warned the wildlife officials of the villagers anger and frustration. Five women had been killed by leopards, but the department had not warned or informed the local population of any plan of action to deal with the man-eating leopard menace.

On Wednesday, July 6, a woman in village Maulia Koi was killed. She was collecting pine leaves in her backyard. The womans father-in-law working in a nearby field, rushed to help her. The leopard had dragged the victim among the nearby bushes, but ran away on seeing villagers shouting and rushing at it.

A team of five NWFP Wildlife Department employees, along with a police constable and equipped with one G-3 rifle, one 222 rifle, and two 12 bore shotguns with a live goat in a special cage were dispatched to Bakot on the night of July 10 to trap the leopard.

After positioning the cage at the spot where the last woman was killed, the party started patrolling the Bakot road at night. At 0230 hours early morning they found the leopard trapped in the cage. It had killed the goat. The wildlife personnel had tranquillizer darts, but terrified by the sight of the trapped leopard, they lost no time in killing it with four bullets.

How a man-eater was trapped
In view of the increasing danger from the leopards which have turned into man-eaters, and in view of public anger and fear, catching the killer beast has become a priority with the NWFP Wildlife Department.

Range Officer, Rehmatullah Khan Marwat from Doonga Gali, on receiving information from the police, reached the place of attack immediately and set up a cage with a live goat inside on August 24. According to him the leopard had avoided the cage entrance, but had mauled the goat from the back of the cage.

Assisted by four Wildlife Department watchers, the Range Officer placed another cage on a nearby track leading to Bara Gali. The Ranger and his four assistants waited in a tent pitched at a distance of 250 meters. The leopard entered the cage on August 26 in the morning.

Hearing the loud clang of the falling steel cage door, the Range Officer and his four assistants rushed to the cage. The trapped leopard had not killed the goat but its roars and growls were echoing through the forest.

The Ranger and his assistants had brought tranquillizer darts and a special gun to sedate the beast. This was a wise precaution as earlier in July the wildlife officials had panicked and killed a trapped leopard.

I visited the animal at 7 am in the morning. It was a beautiful female leopard, which had probably attacked and injured the girl, and had killed the trapped goat the night before. The animal was tranquillized and taken to the Wildlife Divisional Forest Office in Abbottabad. Its fate is not known. In developed countries DNA and other tests are done on the beast to verify whether it had attacked humans or not. It is hoped that the female leopard with its two cubs is not killed till the facts are established through DNA tests.

After years of hard work the NWFP Wildlife Department has managed to conserve the Galliat leopards. Though it is not uncommon for leopards and tigers to turn into man-eaters, it is the first time in 60 years that the Galliat leopards have attacked and killed humans.

There are many people advocating the extermination of all the Galliat leopards. Mumtaz Malik Chief Conservator NWFP Wildlife has disclosed to the national media that there are only 30 to 40 leopards in the Galliat forest.

Considering the fact that the Galliat leopard is an endangered animal, there is no justification to invite trophy hunters to kill all the leopards, using the excuse that one or two of them have turned into man-eaters. There must be a proper plan to detect the ones who have turned into man-eaters, to count them, to shift some of them into distant areas. It must be ascertained that their numbers in the Ayubia National park and the Galliat forests are compatible with their requirements for survival, as well as ensure safety of the local population.  A. A. K.

Why leopards attack women
People in the villages around Galliat forests and Ayubia National Park are frightened and shocked that man-eating leopard(s) are attacking and killing women only! The reason for this is maybe the fact that usually women, rather than men, go into the forests to collect wood, grass and wild vegetables and are hence more vulnerable to leopard attacks.

One assumption is that a crouching woman cutting grass appears to look like a monkey to the leopard. But the fact is that half of the women killed by leopards were walking with loads of grass and wood on their heads, which makes them comparatively bigger targets; in two cases the women were accompanied by another woman and a man, and yet they were attacked and killed. So the sitting posture theory is not conclusive.  A. A. K.

On Monday July 11, the dead leopard was put on display outside the Wildlife Information Centre at Doonga Gali. The 12-year-old animals photographs appeared in all the national dailies and on PTV the next day. The Abbottabad SSP in a press statement announced that police commandos had shot the leopard, putting 15 bullets into it. If true, this was unnecessary. The claims and counter-claims should be verified by higher authorities.

An inquiry should be carried out as to why the trapped animal was not spared for proper investigations. World wildlife specialists could have determined if this was the man-eater by inspecting its teeth, claws, etc., after sedating it with available tranquillizer shots. The post-mortem did not produce evidence that this leopard had devoured human bones or flesh. The way the trapped animal was gunned down indicates lack of professionalism.

As no more women have been killed by leopards since the death of this beast, it does prove that it was the killer. An ox, however, was later killed by a leopard. Ten years ago there were 16 common leopards in and around the Ayub National Park. They number 30 now. The leopard count is the guess work of under-trained wildlife officials and employees, who lack the expertise and equipment to track and count common leopards in the Galliat forests.

The Galliat leopard is normally a friendly animal, and has been known not to hurt any human for decades. They are starved because humans have massively intruded into their habitat. In the African and American forests, leopards hunt deer, stags, rabbits, wild goats, wild dogs and wild boars. In the Galliat forests the common leopard feeds on monkeys, foxes, and dogs. There are no dogs left and the rhesus monkey population has migrated to lower heights.

Fear of leopards
Leopards prefer to eat monkeys, but as the monkeys have descended into the human habitat owing to wayside restaurants opening up rapidly which feed these monkeys, the leopards have followed them. As food is easily available the monkeys have no need to return to the dense forests where danger lurks in the form of predators. Perhaps the monkeys have sensed that the leopard population has increased, and prefer to stay where they feel safe. The concerned departments need to undertake a proper leopard count, and make arrangements to deport leopards if their numbers exceed the nurturing capacity of the forests. The people will stop fearing for their lives when they know that the concerned departments have taken concrete steps to prevent future leopard attacks. The situation requires that women should not venture into the forests alone but in groups.  A. A. K.

At a recent meeting of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Nathiagali, it was proposed that the exact population of leopards and the habitats required for their survival should be determined and the staff of the NWFP Wildlife Department should be trained in the management of wild animals.

The department needs special equipment for a head count and tracking of leopards and monkey families. Satellite tracking is used in the developed countries. There should be training for wildlife staff in the use of tranquillizer guns and darts as well.

In case the leopard population grows to an extent that their present habitat becomes insufficient, they should be relocated. A public education programme should be launched to create an understanding for wild animals. Locals now think that every leopard is a man-eater. The electronic media should be used for public education to prove that this is not the case.

Environmental education ought to be made a part of sustainable rural development programmes. Also, assistance and expertise can be sought from the Indian wildlife departments, which have succeeded in animal conservation programmes.

http://www.dawn.com/weekly/review/review1.htm

 

‘Man-eating leopards still in Galliat’
* NWFP Wildlife Department lacks facilities to deal with the situation
Staff Report


LAHORE: There are three to four man-eating leopards in the Galliat area but the NWFP Wildlife Department lacks the facilities to kill them, Suhail Nasir Tehwar Ali Khan, a Pakistani hunter, told reporters at Lahore Press Club on Saturday.

Khan visited Galliat last month and killed a leopard in Aliabad. He had offered his services to the government to kill the remaining man-eating leopards. He said that leopards had killed six women, two children and a man in Galliat.

He said that he reached Aliabad in Galliat on July 13. The locals were fear stricken because a leopard had killed a woman a day earlier. He said that he explored the jungle with wildlife officials that night and found 15-16 leopards inhabiting various caves. He said that a leopard jumped on him when he moved closer and was shot dead by a rifle shot. He said that the NWFP Wildlife Department’s claim that man-eating leopards had been killed was false. He said that there were almost 150 leopards in the area and at least four of them were man-eaters.

Khan said that the government should help him kill the man-eaters. He said that he would go to Galliat again on Sunday to explore the area.

The hunter said that since 1984, the NWFP Wildlife Department had protected the leopards in the area but did not look after the provision of food for leopards. He said there were no jackals, monkeys, rabbits or other animals in the jungle that could feed the leopards.

He said that the leopards had come down the valley in search of food and had started attacking goats and other domestic animals. He said that they killed women who went to the jungle to cut grass and the leopard found them easy prey.

He said the leopards were unable to migrate to India during this year’s heavy snowfall. He said the fences on both sides of the border and the road from Aliabad to Nathia Gali had disturbed the area’s natural habitat. Khan said that the NWFP Wildlife Department had no facilities to fight man-eating leopards. He said that the department should form a team of veterinary doctors and use detachable cages, dart guns and a helicopter to hunt down these animals.

He said it was difficult to dart a leopard in the hilly area because a dart took two to three minutes to knock it unconscious and during this time it often jumps into a ditch. He said a helicopter was needed to reach the leopard immediately because the darts cause water to flow from its eyes and if the eyes were not creamed immediately, the man-eater could lose sight. Khan is the son of internationally famed hunter Tehwar Ali Khan who wrote many books including ‘Man-eaters of Sunder bun’, ‘Distress signal of Sunder ban’ and ‘Rouge Elephant of Chittagong’. Khan killed 11 man-eating leopards in East Pakistan.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_21-8-2005_pg7_19

 

Man-eating leopards in Thandiani: Community seeks safety measures
By Shoaib Ahmed

LAHORE: A series of atrocious killings of six women by leopards in Thandiani, Qalandarabad, Beran Gali, Bakot and Singal Kot have spread panic in the area.

The first incident took place in Qalandarabad on June 28 when a woman’s body was found in the woods with deep leopard claw wounds on her neck and kidneys while parts of her intestine were missing. Two days later (on June 30) bodies of Khurshida and Feroz Jan were found in Thandiani (Kala Pani) with broken legs and deep wounds on their necks. Locals also saw a leopard close to the bodies. The women had gone into the forest to cut grass.

The third incident took place on July 4 in Beran Gali (Kather). Sabina and her mother, Yasmin, were going home with fodder collected from the forest. Yasmin was 15 feet ahead of Sabina when she heard crows crowing loudly in the adjoining trees. She turned around and saw a leopard dragging Sabina into the bushes with her neck in his mouth. She ran behind the leopard, which dropped Sabina’s body and disappeared into the bushes.

Another incident took place on July 5 in Bakot (Molia) when Safira went to the forest with her father-in-law, M Afsar, to collect grass. Afsar said that he was about 20 feet behind Safira when a leopard attacked her. He said that she started shouting and the leopard fled when people gathered at the spot.

The last incident took place at Singal Kot (Khan Sare) on July 7 when a woman Azram went to the forest to collect vegetables. She did not return and her body was found next morning in the jungle. A leopard had eaten the internal parts of her abdomen.

A group of journalists from Lahore visited the leopards’ domain a few days ago. The trip was organised by the Forum of Environment Journalists, Punjab Chapter, in collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The journalists attended a meeting at Thandiani (Kala Pani) on August 11, which was organised by the NWFP Wildlife Department, WWF and the locals to discuss how to avoid human killings by leopards. The locals signed a bill of proposals at the meeting, demanding that the NWFP Wildlife Department and the WWF launch an awareness campaign to educate the Thandiani community on such issues. WWF Communication Head Amjad Aslam told Daily Times that common leopards become man-eaters when they lose their fear of human beings. He said most victims were women because they often go to the forest to collect wood and fodder.

Deputy Speaker Muhammad Yaqoob regretted that the NWFP Wild Life Department had done nothing to save the lives of innocent people.

http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?pa … 005_pg7_12

 

Killer Leopards May Still Be At Large
PESHAWAR – The authorities killed two leopards in the Hazara forest regions suspected of killing six women out collecting firewood and fodder. Hispathology tests conducted at Ayub Medical College on the animals’ digestive tracts, however, have not helped the authorities establish whether the animals were the real culprits or not.

The first accident took place on June 30, when an elderly woman ad her daughter-in-law were found in Thandiani. A day later, another woman met a similar fate in the nearby Beeran Galli. This was followed by two more months in Moolia village and Single Kot, respectively, on July 4 with a sixth victim being reported from Seri village on July 7. Except for one elderly victim’s body, all the others were intact.

None of the victims’ families, however, agreed to post-mortem examinations or autopsies before the burials. “One could hardly do such a  thing as forest communities do not consider it appropriate to conduct an autopsy or disclose the cause of death if a woman is killed by a wild animal”, explains NWFP Chief Conservationer Dr Mumtaz Malik. To complicate matters, the locals were emotionally worked up against the wildlife department. “Initially, they held us responsible for the women’s deaths,” Malik maintains, “They believed we had set leopards free to help increase their population.”

According to wildlife officials, the common leopard or Panthera pardus was put up on the list of protected animals some 30 years ago when it was believed to be on the verge of extinction. In 1984, the government established Ayubia National Park to provide a secure habitat to the animal. “This park proved to be a successful experiment as the number of leopards increased substantially,” claims Malik. He believes that the attacks are a new phenomena that were probably caused after the leopards moved from the national park to the adjacent forest. “Once their numbers grew, they dispersed towards nearby corridors which have human settlements,” Malik observes.

The department is reluctant to conclude that leopards that killed the women were man-eaters. Instead, it believes that they may have started attacking humans in response to a loss of habitat. During recent years, a large number of the monkey population shifted from the forest to areas close to human settlements and roads, speculates an official. The monkeys have been gradually lured into the areas as the number of tourists feeding them has increased. “This has caused a tremendous change in their behavior,” Malik says. “The monkeys want to live close to humans and thus their predators, the leopards, are forced to follow suit.”

In response to the killings, the department arranged a hunt. The first of the two animals was gunned down on the night of July 9 by police commandos in the Seri area close to where the sixth victim was discovered. A private hunter from Lahore killed the second leopard on the night of July 13 in Bakot. Officials claim that the department arranged the private hunter for the second animal after the police wanted to keep the skin of the first alleged predator.

The first of the two wild cats was said to be a 15-year-old, 75 kilogramme male, whose body length was seven feet and seven inches and height at the shoulders was 33 inches. The second leopard was a four-year-old female about five feet and seven inches along and 23 inches tall. As the first leopard was killed barely a day after the last victim was found, a wildlife official contends that its stomach would still contain traces of human remains. “But the digestive system of neither animal contained human remains such as hair, bones or flesh,” the official explains. Instead, the male leopard’s stomach had mud with grass fibres and vegetable material while the female leopard’s stomach contained monkey hairs.

These investigations would appear to support the theory that the two hunted leopards may not be the animals that killed the villagers. However, as the bodies of the victims were intact and only one body was mauled, it would be difficult to reach this conclusion based on an analysis of the animals’ stomach contents alone.

Meanwhile, in view of the growing population of common leopards, the NWFP wildlife department is considering removing them from the list of protected animals and placing them on the schedule of game animals for trophy hunting. Wildlife conservationists and local communities are, however, opposed to the proposal. – I.A.

This article was printed in the August 2005 issue of the monthly Herald.

Herald  - http://dawn.com/herald/index.htm

 

Leopards can change their spots
By Dr. Ali Jan

Murree and the Galiyat areas lie at the foot of the Himalayas in Pakistan on an alpine hill tract. They comprise a number of settlements that were established by the British as summer hill-stations for their families to escape the heat of the Indian plains. The region's forests abound in all kinds of fauna and flora. Recently, the news of a leopard turned "man-eater" in the Galiyat region drew extensive publicity.

According to reports, a leopard attacked and killed six women in Bakot village located few kilometres from Abbotabad in just one week. Afterwards, the wildlife agencies liaising with a commando police force somehow managed to trap it. However, the endangered animal's rise to fame as "Pakistan's first man-eater leopard" ended abruptly when it was slain by a police constable who riddled its body with 15 bullets whilst it was still in a cage.

Air Marshal (retd) Ayaz Ahmed Khan, a resident of Nathiagali, in a newspaper article once wrote: "There has never been a report during the last 50 years of a leopard attacking a human being. The leopard in its distinct black and white spotted skin is on the run from its most dangerous predator the man."

Indeed, deforestation and encroaching urbanization of the forests  the native habitat of the leopards  and scarcity of its natural prey are mainly to blame for a situation when an animal might turn man-eater. Otherwise, according to experts, it is a very rare occurrence. Unlike other related big cats, leopards are naturally shy animals. Being nocturnal in their habits, they hunt smaller animals such as jackals, dogs, monkeys and occasionally cattle in the wilds of the Galiyat.

In India and Bangladesh, ghastly tales of man-eating tigers are not uncommon. Leopards seldom feature in such stories. However, the gripping novel The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag by legendary Irish hunter Jim Corbett is a hair-raising account of the pursuit of one such elusive animal that had claimed more than 125 lives in the Upper Provinces of India in early '20s.

When I inquired about the species of leopard found in this region, Nausherwan Ahmed, a nature enthusiast who runs the largest country specific website on wildlife (www.wildlifeofpakistan.com) explained: "According to the new classification there are mainly two types of leopard species found in southern parts of Pakistan. The leopard found on the west of the Indus is known as the Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolour) and on the west of it is called the 'Indian leopard (Panthera pardus fusca) which is the species commonly found in Murree and the Galiyat region. Older terms for the subspecies 'Kashmir leopard' ( P.p.millardi) and 'Sindh leopard' (P.p.sindica) are no longer taken into account."

Many people erroneously refer to leopards as sher (lion, in local dialect). Whereas, others often inaccurately confuse them with snow leopards or cheetahs. The snow leopards are also a threatened species surviving on the snow-peaked mountains of the Northern areas of Pakistan, often living at altitudes of 10,000 feet and above. On the other hand, the Indian cheetah that was commonly reared by the Mughals and Nawabs in old times to accompany their royal hunts has now become extinct in the subcontinent.

There have been many instances of leopard sightings in Murree. Last year, I personally witnessed a leopard on the Jheekagali-Kuldana- Kashmir Point hiking track in Murree hills. Signboards were later placed on nearby trees to warn hikers. On a recent visit to the same spot, the leopard roar was heard again and fresh paw prints in the mud were observed as well. Although there have been no reported leopard attacks on humans in Murree hills yet, but as prudent practice the hikers in the forests should walk in groups as opposed to being alone. One should be specially careful when there are women and children around because the behaviour of the leopard that attacked six women at Bakot, showed a tendency towards attacking lone females only which, in a lighter vein as an uncle of mine puts it  makes it more of a "woman-eater" and not a true man-eater.

Last winter I learned about a leopard cub that had strayed into a villager's house in Murree and died afterwards. The following version was narrated to me by the locals: "In Jan 2005, Bakhtawar of Kuldana Murree, heard some noise in the night coming from the animal shelter. It was in the shed which is the size of a small room where they tie up their cattle at night. (One or two cows and few goats). The next morning the children who opened the door discovered an animal lying in a corner. Taking it to be a dead domestic cat they called the adults. The parents discovered that it was a leopard's cub. Their neighbours gathered and also some army men who were engaged in removing snow from nearby houses arrived on the scene to examine the animal. Unable to report the incident to the authorities due to excess snow blockades Bakhtawar at first decided to bury the animal but a neighbour requested him to give it to him instead. The same neighbour took pictures of the dead leopard cub and then later on decided to preserve its hide before it got decomposed."

Intriguingly, the neighbour who skinned the animal told me that the animal's ribs appeared to have been broken. He could not explain why. Moreover, many neighbours reported hearing a leopard roaring close to their homes in the following days. They suspected it was the mother who was looking for her cub. The news about the death of any endangered animal whether natural or caused by man is always disturbing. In the interest of all, these animals should be driven back into their own special reserves so there is minimal contact with humans and unfortunate events like the tragic death of six women at Bakot and needless killing of leopards due to game-hunting and poaching can be avoided in the future. It is important to realize that the most important tool to conserve valuable ecosystems and biodiversity of the considered region is transfer to sustainable development.

Enjoining upon us to preserve these beautiful leopards Air Marshal (retd) Ayaz Ahmed Khan quite rightly suggests: "Leopard spotting, viewing by binoculars photographing and feeding would be interesting and a good sport. Killing and gunning down this beautiful animal is criminal. The few leopards in Pakistan deserve attention, because their survival is threatened."

http://www.dawn.com/weekly/dmag/dmag8.htm

 

They are killing the leopards
By Kosar Naqvi & Kamal Siddiqi
07/28/2005
DONGA GALI: The local Wildlife Department office at Donga Gali, one of the several hill points on the road from Murree to Abbottabad saw an unusual number of visitors earlier this month.

None of them, however, were coming to see the collection of stuffed animals and wildlife on display in the museum that forms part of the office. Instead, all were collecting to see the carcass of a leopard, barely an adult, which lay in the foyer.

On public demand, wardens brought the carcass outside in the lawns where groups of people, many of them locals and some tourists gathered to have pictures taken with the dead leopard.

Two leopards have been shot in the space of a week. The first one, so old that some of its claws and teeth were missing, was shot while in a cage because its keepers panicked. The second leopard was also shot in haste. Renowned hunter, Sohail Dawar Ali Khan, who was invited by wildlife officials to track the man-eater behind the deaths of seven women, was surprised by its sudden appearance and shot it down in pitch darkness at Aliabad, a village where the most recent mauling by a leopard had taken place.

Now medical reports have confirmed what most suspected all along: that both leopards were not man-eaters as there was no trace of human tissue in their stomachs. This disclosure means that two leopards, who could otherwise have been saved and are now dead and that a man-eater remains on the loose.

This is not comforting news to villagers of the area who are frightened by the manner in which the leopards have started attacking humans over the past few months. Leopards have killed six women in different parts of the area. The death of one woman is disputed as she died from falling off a cliff. Locals say that she was running from a leopard.

It is the women who go into the forests to collect firewood and now they are scared to do so. The women that have died left behind families, in most cases small children. The people of the areas where these attacks have occurred live in fright especially in night-time when there is no electricity and the pitch-dark atmosphere encourages the leopards to attack.

Many ask why do the leopards want to attack humans now when such incidents have not happened with such persistence in the past? These cats have been around for some time now. In the early nineties, when their numbers were dwindling, the government introduced some more into the wild. Some officials claim that their numbers have increased significantly. But the attacks are a new phenomena. It seems that some balance has been upset that makes these cats find human prey.

One recent development has been the surge in tourist arrivals in the Galiyat as well as rapid urbanization. Hundreds of small and medium apartment schemes have started all over the Galiyat and the number of people setting up home here is unprecedented.

The confusion about the leopards is propounded by the fact that the local populace insists on calling them cheetahs, which they are not. The district forest officer at Donga Gali, Safdar Ali Shah, says that the leopards that have been killed and those suspected of attacking humans are both common leopards that are indigenous to this area. But there is little he can offer as to why they have started attacking humans.

Shah’s theory is that the number of leopards in the area has increased significantly in the past decade or so. Figures vary from 60 to 250. There are too many of them and there just isn’t enough food for all of them. Thanks to rapid urbanization, even the monkeys - which are plentiful in this area, have gravitated towards the populated areas because people offer them food. Now the leopards are following suit.

SDPO Abdul Hafeez who is one of the "police commandoes" assigned the task of tracking the man-eating leopards has his own theories. According to him, the killings of the women were not done by one but by different leopards. He also says that the range of the leopards is so vast that it is difficult to track them down.

Amongst all this confusion over leopard numbers, there is a consensus emerging over the need to cull the leopard population. This will invite all sorts of hunters and amateurs running after a number of leopards whose number have yet to be verified. This is a frightening possibility.

Some wildlife officials also point towards trophy hunting - with the people of area sharing in the proceeds as has been done in the case of the Markhor in some other parts of the country. The government, however, continues to drag its feet on the issue with both villagers and hunters getting impatient. Some feel that a couple of more deaths in the Galiyat will open the doors to widespread killing of the leopards - a thought that makes any wildlife lover and conservationist shudder.

http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/jul2005-daily/29-07-2005/main/main11.htm

 

Proposal for leopard trophy hunting
07/26/2005
Bureau Report
PESHAWAR, July 25: The provincial environment department is considering a wildlife directorate proposal to introduce leopard trophy hunting in the Galliat region, according to official sources.

The proposal, which calls for leopard trophy hunting on the pattern of the markhor trophy hunting, has been put forth in view of the danger posed by the swelling number of leopards in the region.

Wildlife conservationists are opposed to the plan which was laid out after leopards mauled to death six women in Mansehra and Abbottabad districts.

Dr Mumtaz Malik, chief conservator of the wildlife directorate in the province, told Dawn that the proposal was still in the conceptual stage and a final decision would be taken later by the government.

The population of leopards – once designated as an endangered species – has been growing since 1984 when wildlife authorities introduced measures to protect wildlife habitat in the Galliat region of NWFP.

As part of these measures it established Ayubia National Park over some 4,000 acres of forest land. The park area was later increased to 8,000 acres, according to official sources.

According to conservative estimates, the population of the ‘common leopard’ in the Galliat region has doubled in the last five years from 10 to 15 animals to some 30 to 40 animals.

“If introduced, leopard trophy hunting would entail dual benefits for the local communities as it would help them earn foreign exchange as well as lower the threat posed to human life,” said Dr Malik.

However, conservationists belonging to the Hazara region said that the trophy hunting plan was ‘ill-conceived’ and could easily aggravate the threat to leopards.

Wasi-ur Rehman, a conservationist and representative of a local community organization, said that leopards were still an endangered species and trophy hunting would only expose the animal to a greater threat.

The common leopard, known also as Panthra pardus, was listed as a protected species more than 20 years ago and the government of the day outlawed hunters and poachers from shooting or poisoning the animal.

“If the government decides to introduce leopard trophy hunting, then the common leopard would be placed on the schedule of game animals,” said Dr Malik.

According to him, leopard trophy hunting has the potential to turn the fortunes around of people in the Galliat region because the sport would attract the interest of local and international hunters.

“People spend Rs900,000 to Rs1 million to hunt leopards in Africa. Raising $5,000 from a single leopard here should not be a problem,” said Mr Malik, adding that poverty-ridden communities had much to gain from the trophy hunting experience.

TRAPPING ANIMALS: On the request of zoo managements in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, the NWFP wildlife directorate will set traps for three leopards in the Galliat region.

Directorate officials have started preparations to capture the animals in fulfilment of requests put forth by the managements of three zoos.

The directorate is building some six more cages - in addition to the two it already has - to trap the animals.

Cages will be placed at points between national parks and human settlements in the Galliat region

http://www.dawn.com/2005/07/26/nat44.htm

 

Leopard killed in Abbottabad was not a man-eater
07/23/2005
Bureau Report

PESHAWAR, July 22: Laboratory tests on one of the two leopards shot dead following killing of six women in attacks apparently carried out by wild animals in Abbottabad have failed to establish any link between the attacks and the beast, official sources here said. The six women were killed while collecting fodder in what was assumed to be attacks by leopards in the forest area of Abbottabad between June 30 and July 7.

The wildlife department officials told Dawn that families of none of the six victims agreed for post-mortem. Except for the last victim, who was killed in Seri village on July 7, none of the bodies was mutilated.

“Though we did not inspect the body, people of Seri village had said that the leopard had eaten up parts of the woman’s body,” said a senior official about the July 7 victim.

Following increase in the incidents of leopard attacks on women collecting fodder in forest areas, two common leopards, belonging to the family Panthra pardus, were gunned down — one by the department on the night of July 9 and the other by a private hunter, arranged by the department, on the night of July 13.

The department had sent viscera, including intestinal contents of the two animals to the Ayub Medical College for histopathology test and microscopic examination to establish whether these were responsible for the death of the six women.

“Histopathology report of the first of the two leopards could not establish that it was a man-eater,” said Dr Mumtaz Malik, chief conservative of the wildlife department, on Wednesday.

The first leopard was a 15-year-old male, while the second, aged three to four years, was female.

According to official sources, the length of one leopard was seven feet and seven inches. It had a height of 33 inches and weighed about 75kg.

The other leopard was five feet and seven inches in length, while its height was measured at 23 inches.

The wildlife department officials said that laboratory tests of viscera did not reveal that the leopard killed on July 9 had eaten human flesh.

“Neither the stomach nor the intestine of the leopard contained human remains. It cannot be said with authority that it had eaten any of the six women killed,” said an official.

According to him, the last of the six victims was killed on July 7 in the Seri area of Abbottabad, whereas, the first leopard was gunned down on the night between July 9 and 10 in the same area by police commandos and wardens of the wildlife department.

The official contended that neither the post-mortem of the animal nor the microscopic examination of its stomach and intestine had established that it had attacked and killed the women.

“The digestive system of the animal does not contain human remains like hairs, bones or flesh,” he added.

According to him, the stomach of one of the leopards contained traces of mud with grass fibres and vegetable material, while the other’s (female’s) stomach contained monkey hairs.

The microscopic examination also did not show any human parts.

The report contained that no human contents were identified either by the naked eye or through microscopic examination”.

The chief conservator said the Ayub Medical College had advised DNA testing to determine whether these animals had attacked and killed women.

However, the idea did not get the support of the wildlife department. “The DNA test takes too much time and costs too much, we are not going for that,” said a wildlife department official.

http://dawn.com/2005/07/23/nat8.htm

 

Tests negate Wildlife Dept’s claim of man-eaters
07/21/2005
By Kosar Naqvi
ABBOTTABAD: The ‘Histopathology’ report of both the leopards gunned down following killing of six women in different parts of Abbottabad district has negated the claims of Wildlife Department that the leopards were man-eaters.

"No human tissue have been found or parts identified in the specimen received," informed Prof Dr Fazale Raziq, head of pathology department of the Ayub Medical College while talking to The News here on Wednesday.

According to the report of pathology department, they received stomach and intestines of leopards having three containers. The cut section of the stomach of one of the leopards shows mud with grass fibres and vegetable material. Microscopic examination also did not show any human parts. The one page report stated, "No human contents were identified on naked eye examination or microscopy", the report said. The wildlife authorities, if desire, may go for DNA, the report suggests.

Earlier, the Wildlife Department had sent the stomach and intestines of both the leopards after autopsy to Ayub Medical College for Histopethology tests to determine if they were the same bloodthirsty animal that reportedly killed six women in different incidents.

The department has announced "hunting trophy" of these leopards in the forest of Abbottabad." We have proposed the high-ups for the introduction of hunting trophy scheme for common leopards in this part of this area," disclosed divisional forest officer wildlife Abbottabad, Syed Safdar Ali Shah while talking to The News in Dunga Gali other day.

The mystery of killing of at least seven women in the forests of Abbottabad and Mansehra within last two weeks has yet to be resolved, as the Forest Department claims that common leopards have killed them while locals have different point of view.

http://jang.com.pk/thenews/jul2005-dail … nal/n1.htm

 

Pics of the Leopard killed in Galliat area
07/18/2005
Here is an update on the situation with the problem of man eating leopards in Pakistan. As mentioned before two leopards have been shot by the Wildlife Department. Sadly, none of the two turned out to be man eaters as reported by the news report yesterday in The News. Now the Wildlife Department is introducing Trophy Hunting program to hunt these cats.  Mr Wassi Ur Rehman (Organizer,Dubran Welfare & Conservation Society, Dubran DISTT. ABBOTTABAD, PAKISTAN) has reported more than 6 common leopards have been killed in the mountains around Haro River, in a radius of only 50 Km. in the last 6 -8 months. These include the recently killed two leopards by The Wildlife Dept. NWFP. I request you to please join hands in stopping this before its too late. Please forward this news to as many people as you can.
Regards,
 
Nausherwan Ahmed
www.wildlifeofpakistan.com

All are screen captures from Pakistan Television (PTV)

 

Another leopard killed in Abbottabad
07/16/2005
ABBOTTABAD, July 15: Personnel of the wildlife department shot dead another leopard in Aliabad village near Donga Gali late on Saturday night. Syed Safdar Ali Shah, DFO wildlife department, told journalists that the entire Galyat belt, including Thandiyani, had been divided into sectors to hunt down the predators, which had so far killed six women.

A team comprising two experts and two wildlife officials lured the cat into a forest area and sprayed it with bullets. The animal also attacked the officials before it was shot dead.

Earlier, police commandos had shot dead a leopard near Bakot on July 11 where a woman had been killed by the beast.

The DFO said that the wildlife department had placed cages at different parts of Galyat to lure the animals, which were blamed for fatal attacks on women.

He said that it was a female leopard of two years age.—Rashid Javed

http://www.dawn.com/2005/07/16/nat40.htm

 

Police shoot killer leopard dead
07/12/2005

PESHAWAR, July 11: Police commandos on Monday shot dead a leopard which reportedly killed six women in northwestern Pakistan, officials said. They lured the leopard into a forested area with a caged goat and then sprayed the cat with bullets when it fell for the trap, said Feroz Shah, a senior police officer in Abbottabad.
“Police commandos fired 15 bullets to kill the leopard,” Shah told AFP.

The big cat was killed about 200 yards (metres) from the spot where it was thought to have mauled a woman on Friday, he said.

“We are 100 per cent sure it is the same leopard,” Shah said, without specifying how.

The leopard was blamed for fatal attacks on six women who had gone to collect firewood from the mountainous region during the last two weeks.

Shah said the authorities dispatched the commando team over the weekend to hunt down the animal and also warned people to stay away from the forest.

http://www.dawn.com/2005/07/12/nat18.htm

 

Villagers shot dead two leopards in Abbottabad  
4/16/2005
ABBOTTABAD: Another leopard was shot dead here by the villagers in two days that had created panic in the surrounding hilly areas of the Abbottabad, as these wild animals are freely moving in the city area
in search of food.

Residents of village Treheri, Qalandarabad, 10 kilometres from Abbottabad, killed a leopard after it attacked four persons and was hiding in the kitchen of one Muhammad Akbar on Thursday evening.

All the four injured, Niaz, Muhammad Aslam, Taj Muhammad and Ghulam Haider were admitted to the Ayub Medical Complex. Leopard attacked Niaz Muhammad when he was fetching water for his cattle. On his shouting, villagers came and saved him.

Leopard after attacking three others entered the house of Akbar and was hiding in the kitchen where people locked it and were waiting for the Wild Life officials and police.

The leopard, however, after smashing the window was trying to escape when the villagers shot him dead as the animal would have become more dangerous. Both the incidents occurred in the jurisdiction of Mirpur police station. First incident took place in Banda Jalal Khan, adjacent to Jhangi Saydan, which is thickly populated area of the
city, where residents killed leopard after it attacked one Irshad in thickly populated area of the city on Wednesday.

http://jang.com.pk/thenews/apr2005-daily/1...national/n5.htm

 

ABBOTTABAD: Leopard killed in Banda Jalal  
4/15/2005

ABBOTTABAD, April 14: A leopard was shot down on Wednesday in a thickly populated at Banda Jalal Khan area of the city by a villager, Irshad, who had been attacked by the beast.

According to the wildlife officer, Khursheed Abbasi, the female leopard was one and half years old and had come to the city area from its forest abode five kilometres away. These leopards are normally found in the forests of pine trees. The wildlife department staff rushed to the place after receiving the information from Rescue-15, but before they reached there the leopard had been killed.

The wildlife department's team shifted the carcass to Peshawar for decomposition and its skin would be put on display at the Pakistan Forest College Peshawar or at the Wildlife Museum. This was the third incident of its kind in the city in the last three years.

http://www.dawn.com/2005/04/15/local31.htm

 

The response:

E-mail from Dr. Ashiq Ahmad Khan of WWF-Pakistan regarding leopard killing of 6/2/2006 near Muzaffarabad
From: Ashiq Ahmad <ashiqahmad@hotmail.com>
delivered to www.wildlifeofpakistan.com

Dear All,

Just to add a little, the source of the news related to killing of leopards, one each in Machiara National Park, and other around Ayubia National Park, is WWF-Pakistan which is working in both these areas.However, relevant Wildlife Departments are fully aware of it, and are involved in further investigations. DFO(Safdar Ali Shah) of ANP, and Director Wildlife,AJK are the key sources of information along with Mr. Waseem,from WWF Nathia gali and Mr. Khurshid Ahmad, Education and communication specialist fromTA Team of WWF, Muzaffar Abad

The leopard of Machiara, as reported by the news papers also, was found dead near a village, called Kopra, Serli Sacha Union Council. This is one of the 3 Union councils located in and around Machiara National Park. Reportedly, the leopard entered the village and got killed. No one has yet been found doing it. Investigations are still going on.

Leopards are seen in the Jhelum valley, especially in the pine zone and also get killed by herders, though not as frequent as we get them these days in Galliat.About 3 years ago, the AJK Wildlife Department got a hunter fined. The amount ,he paid was Rs.41,000/- another was killed early this year near the line of control

A leopard was killed a few days earlier(almost same day) near Nathia gali also.It was shot dead but no one has yet been detected doing it.

I am sharing a few photos of the killed leopards at both the sites with members.

 

ASHIQ AHMAD KHAN

Chief Technical Advisor

WWF-Pakistan,

34-D/2, SAHIBZADA ABDUL QAYUM ROAD,

UNIVERSITY TOWN, PESHAWAR-PAKISTAN

PHONE:+92-91-5841593&5841754

FAX: +92-91-5841754

Alternate e-mail: ashiqahmad@gmail.com

 

Moving towards solutions - WWF Response
25 July 2005
http://wwfpak.org/25-07-05solutions.php
With reference to the recent leopard-man conflict in Galliat and Thandiani surrounding areas, where such incidents happened, WWF - Pakistan visited the affected areas and held consultations with local influential and officials of the NWFP Wildlife Department. Based on these meetings, certain conclusions and a line of action were drawn. In the aftermath of these incidents, WWF – Pakistan is following the developments in these areas and is constantly in touch with the concerned departments to ascertain a more viable solution for handling this situation.

Mr. Ashiq Ahmad Khan, WWF – Pakistan's Chief Technical Advisor, along with his team is still present on the site of worst hit area and below is his findings:

The available evidences suggest that the leopard was responsible for killing of 6 women in Galliat and Thandiani.
It was found out that the shooting down of the leopard by the NWFP Wildlife Department was in line with the law, hence was a legal action. Although the Act does not mention leopard specifically but gives freedom to individuals of killing a wild animal if it is a threat to people's life or property.
WWF – Pakistan has intervened in this matter as it wants to develop a rationale between the rights of people to live safely and necessary survival of leopard in the surroundings.
WWF – Pakistan is finding a viable solution to secure leopards in the Protected Areas and also increase the area of the Protected Areas.

WWF – Pakistan has offered to organise an assembly for the affected community and relevant stakeholders for reaching a formula that will respect the right of people to survive and also respect the right of species to exist in viable numbers. The community of Kalapani and the Wildlife Department has agreed to the suggestion while the participation of relevant Ministers, MPA's, local leadership, District Administration and representatives of other affected families/villages has yet to be ascertained. The tentative date for holding the assembly is August 11, 2005.

WWF - Pakistan will still want to undertake following activities in case the plan for holding an assembly does not materialise:

Awareness Raising Campaign :
It will be focused on reducing the fear and restoring sympathies of people for leopards, which has been almost lost after the killing incidents.

Field Studies:
It will record sighting, habitat and food assessment, depredation data and other information that may contribute to formulating a carnivore policy by the Government and are used in awareness campaigns.

Advocacy/lobbying: It will be done to secure the rights of the people to live in safety and peace from leopards yet protect wildlife, especially leopards against unjustified killings.

Trainings for women:
They will be carried out to train women in avoiding attacks when out in the forests.
WWF – Pakistan will issue a press release soon after the assembly is held or its date changed or cancelled.


For further information:
Amjad Aslam, WWF – Pakistan,
Ferozepur Road, Lahore.
UAN: 111-WWF-PAK(993-725)
Tel: +92 42 5862360, 5869429,
Fax: 042 5862358,
e-mail: aaslam@wwf.org.pk

 

E-mail from Mr. WASSI-UR-REHMAN Organizer, Dubran Welfare & Conservation Society
Dubran DISTT. ABBOTTABAD, PAKISTAN regarding the killings of Leopards

delivered to www.wildlifeofpakistan.com

 

Dear friends, & Respected Dignities,

A.O.A,

 

Thanks for your response to my mails.  Here are a few lines for your consideration and a request to save the wildlife of Hazara div. and its forests.

 

Why Leopards Are Killed

 

The leopard is the only animal which is found in almost every forest of Hazara including Margalla and Muree Hills. Different families of leopards are reported to be seen in the surroundings of Haro River in the following forests.

 

a)     Sarla Reserved Forest: 2 Leopards

b)     Margalla Hills Park:  3-4 Leopards

c)     Kohala Lassan Reserved Forest: (Siribang area 2 Leopards, Dubran Area 3-4 Leopards, Massah Gojari
   Area 1-2 Leopards

d)     Baroha Bharakahoo Area : 2 Leopards (reported killed)

e)     Satoura and Rahi Area : 2-4 Leopards

f)      Ayubia National Park and Muree Hills: 15-25 Leopards.

g)     Havelian Cantt. Area: 1-2 Leopards.

 

Now the question arises that why these animal enter the residential areas, grazing lands, grass fields and roadside areas? The answer is very simple “Shrinkage of Habitats and presence of Privately Protected Forests near the villages and roads in community owned area.”

 

Causes Of Habitats Shrinkage:

 

a)      Fuel Wood: The fuel wood pressure has reduced the reserved forests to minimum and compelled the locals to
       grow their own trees and bushes to fulfill their needs.

b)    Over Grazing: The reserved forests are also destroyed by the grazers. Especially the nomads from the cooler
       areas come down to these forests in the winter. They stay in the reserved forests along with their
       herds/folks of livestock. They poison the wild animals themselves and also provide this poison to the locals.

c)    Smugglers: The timber smugglers have played their part in vanishing reserved forests and Guzaras.

d)    Deliberate Fires: Residents of these areas mostly depend on livestock; therefore grass fodder is one of their
       necessities. To get better grass they have to clean the leaves of pine, bushes, and remaining grass of the
       last season, they burn the area with out controlling the fire in dry Fire Seasons. This unattended fire spreads

       all over the area and burns every thing.

 

Due to the above mentioned facts the forests area are reducing and turnings in to bare rangelands. The wilds hardly find any safer place/prey in the deep forests. There is no place left for them to hide themselves, there fore all the wild animals including the leopards move to the communities protected areas, closer to the homes, where ever they find some shelters.

 

In the fire seasons the animals also gather in the safe areas, as they gathered in Galiyat in now a days, because the area remained safe in the  ending Fire Season.

 

When these animals live closer to the human living area, the battle starts. The wild animals kill the livestock of the community living near by and some times they may attack any human of the area. The people intern try to kill these animals to save there livestock and life. The leopards are so fearful that the people can’t trust them and shout for help on sight even if the animal is for away.

 

In the Jan 2005 a female leopard with its 2 cubs entered in a private protected area near village Ghanaian (Haripur) Their presence was announced in the masjids and people killed one of the cubs, after encircling them. The other two hardly escaped.

 

How to Save These Animals;

  

      I have a few suggestions in this regard if practicable:

  • The rehabilitation of the reserved forest of the area must be started on missionary basis with the help of Forest/Wildlife Departments, NGOs and all other Agencies involved in conservation. So that the wilds are pushed back to the deep forest areas. The Reserved Forests of the area must be converted into National Parks.

  • All types off cutting and grazing must be stopped from reserved forests and Guzaras at least for 5 years for re generation process. The land of Hazara very rich and fertile, it can produce wonderful results, if protected. No plantation is required.

  • Environmental education/awareness about the ecosystem amongst the people of the area is the necessity of time. Even if deliberate fire is controlled, a lot is saved. For this some donor org. is required to come forward. People should be paid to clean the leaves & cut the grass instead of burning it and every thing in the area.

  • Each and every development of the area must be related to the environment. For this purpose Members of local bodies, CCBs and CBOs can be involved.

  • The officials of all related departments should take more pain and work hard, to coup with the requirements of the time. The prevailing laws must be implemented strictly.

  • The Haro River Area (The Neglected One) is the corridor in between MHP & ANP and the nursery of wildlife must be given preference. As it is the largest in between two parks, it can provide shelter consider able species of wildlife of the area.

      

All of the related Agencies NGOs and Green friends/Activists are requested to join your hands together and use all your possible potential to save this valuable National treasure.

                 

 

Thanks

 

With The Best Regards,

       

WASSI-UR-REHMAN
Organizer,
Dubran Welfare & Conservation Society
Dubran DISTT. ABBOTTABAD
PAKISTAN

 

 

 

 

E-mail from DFO Wildlife Abbottabad regarding the killings of Leopards
delivered to www.wildlifeofpakistan.com

Dear all,

It is very encouraging, to see the concerns many people have shown even for killing of the killer leopard in Galliat. However, at the same time it is very painful to know that most of our colleagues have adopted a pissimistic approach towards our actions. Besides, no body had raised the question where from these leopard came? Had any body would have appreciated the efforts of the department for recovery of this endangered species, that would have certainly raised our moral for dealing such cases with more appropriate way in future. Any how let us share with you all the factual position. Many of you might know that in seventies, leopard became locally extinct in many parts of NWFP . In Galliat too the leopard disappread in late seventies. It was with the establishment of Ayubia National Park in 1984 that helped in rehabilitation of monkeys and other prey species.

Consequently, the leopard too reported their arrival in Galliat in late eighties. During the past two decades it thrived in ANP and enjoyed the full protection. Resultantly, they disperesed into the surrounding areas and our conservative estimates are that presently at least 30- 40 pairs are roaming in Galliat. This is no doubt great achievement that a species have not only been recovered but its status has been raised from endangered to COMMON. Itis evident from the fact that we are very oftenly receiving reports of livestock depredation from all over Galliat. Why it is happening? In fact the leopard become mature in 3-4 years and give birth 2-4cubseachyear. The mother keep their cubs for 1-2 years before they are weaned off. The male does not tolerate this behaviour of the female and try to force the new born leave the territory and move to other areas, other wise infanticide is a common behaviour in all carnivores and especialy in wild cats.

Since, their habitat is shrinking day by day and human population is increasing day by day, the leopards find it difficult to safely move around. Consequently, either the leopard kill the livestock or they get killed in retaliation or self defence (last year 7 dead bodies have been recovered only from District Abbottabad). The situation in Galliat has further been exacerbated by the tourists, who often feed monkeys. Every body can observe hundreds of monkeys on main road between Abbottabad and Murree enjoying the maiz comb being offered by the tourists.

This has completely changed their behaviour and instead of searching their food in the forests they spent their time on the road in summer and storming the human settelments in the winter.

The problem is many fold.
1. The department is strictly protecting the leopard and other wild species
2. The leopard population is increasing very rapidly
3. The prey base is narrowing day by day due to human and other biotic pressure
4. The habitat degredation and fragmentation is obvious
5. The compensation policy for livestock depredation is lacking, that makes the people hostile.

Even then, Is it not a dauntic task to recover a species to the COMMON status. The leopard in question killed 5 women in one week and their was every likelihood that another women may have been killed the next day, if the leopard would not have been killed on that night. The post martum report had confirmed that the leopard was 15 year old, with broken canines and nails and was empty stomach therefore AMC could not have traced any human tissue through their microscopic analysis and instead had suggested for DNA analysis.
 

Looking forward for your support and encouragment,

Safdar Ali Shah
Divisional Forest Officer
Abbottabad Wildlife Division
Abbottabad


Op-Ed about Leopard killing in The News
http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/aug2005-daily/01-08-2005/oped/editorial.htm#2
The death of two leopards in the Abbottabad and Mansehra forests at the hands of wildlife officials and police commandoes were extremely unfortunate. More so because the animals were shot in such haste that autopsies on them revealed that neither had been responsible for the recent deaths of seven women in the area. News of a killer leopard, or leopards, on the loose has people living in these forests terrified. Most of these residents live in abject poverty and under harsh weather conditions. In the past few months, they have been terrified by the spate of killings by leopards. The government and other quarters have done little to lessen their fears. In most villages, lack of electricity means that the residents have to get back into their homes before nightfall and stay indoors till daybreak for safety against prowling leopards.

This is an issue that needs to be tackled through a multi-pronged approach. On the one hand, the government needs to ascertain why the leopards are coming out of the wild. If there is a significant increase in their numbers in their habitat, some of the animals should be culled so that the prey available in the forest can sustain them. Another option would be to capture some of the leopards and send them to zoos.

One reason for the emergence of leopards and other wild animals from their original habitats and their entering areas inhabited by people is shrinking of the habitats because of the pressure of the increasing human population, which entails clearance of forests for farming and timber-cutting. While little can be done about this particular problem, a more humane view of the leopards has to be taken, because they leave their areas not because they are ěkillersî but because they are hungry.

Of course, the problem of the villagers has top priority, and it must be addressed through better efforts to track down and capture the killer leopard. But this has to be done by experts, not by gun-toting, trigger-happy policemen who have no idea how to go about the delicate task. If the government does not do the tracking in an effective manner, or, worse, drags its feet on the matter, the villagers may well call in traditional hunters to kill the leopards. This must be avoided at all costs, because it could play havoc in terms of the wildlife there in the areas.

The protection of our diminishing wildlife and forests should be an essential element of our development efforts.

 

Op-Ed about Leopards in Dawn
http://www.dawn.com/2005/08/02/ed.htm
LEOPARDS have been in the news lately. A couple of weeks ago, two alleged man-eaters were trapped and shot dead by NWFP wildlife officials, who had called in police commandos after six villagers were killed in a spate of attacks in the Galiyat area. Now, another leopard attack has been reported, this time from a village near Chitral. Thankfully, no one except a few cattle were killed. One hopes the NWFP wildlife department will not overreact this time as it did in Nathiagali, where forensic tests showed that one of the leopards killed was not a man-eater.

The fact is that leopards kill only for food and not for the fun of it which humans often do. They attack humans only when provoked or if their natural habitat is encroached upon. That probably explains the attacks in Nathiagali, which lies at the edge of a protected forest reserve and where the leopard population has in the past few years increased to a few dozen. Quite possibly, it’s not even a case of the leopards encroaching on the habitat of humans but the other way round. At any rate, even if that happens, the solution does not lie in killing the intruding animal but in trying to trap it and put it in a cage in a zoo. For instance, in the Nathiagali case, there was no need to shoot one leopard because it had already been trapped inside a cage. A tranquilizing gun would have done the job equally well. The mishandling of the Nathiagali attacks reflects the NWFP wildlife department’s lack of sensitivity and experience to tackle such situations. On a wider scale, it is merely one symptom of the general lackadaisical approach to the conservation of wildlife and the environment. The construction spree in the hills itself poses a serious threat to the natural habitat.

 

The killing of wildlife
http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/aug2005-daily/04-08-2005/oped/newspost.htm
This letter is with reference to the news item: "Tests negate Wildlife Department's claim of man-eaters" (July 21st).

The Wildlife Department should issue a public statement explaining why they blindly killed two innocent leopards without any verification, and those responsible should be suspended.

The mission of the Wildlife Department is not to kill animals, but to protect them. However, with the announcement of the "hunting trophy scheme" by the Wildlife Department, it would be better if it renamed itself as the "Wildlife-killing Department" instead.

What use will killing leopards do? Why is the Wildlife Department legalising killing leopards? They are part of the wildlife of Pakistan, and we should be making endeavours to protect them and their natural habitat. The Wildlife Department should be stopped from laying traps out for leopards and promoting trophy hunting.

The events of these pasts few weeks have left animal lovers across the country appalled and shocked. I beg the Wildlife Department and the government to put a stop to these unfortunate series of events.

Saba Imtiaz
Karachi

 

Leopard killing
http://www.dawn.com/2005/07/31/letted.htm#4
APROPOS of the killing of allegedly man-eating leopards, a senior police officer was 100 per cent sure that the first leopard was the animal that had killed six women in the Abbottabad area. But another leopard was killed next week by his men.

So, what was the officer 100 per cent sure of in the first case? This target practice should end. A tranquillizer shot should have been enough, as suggested by Mr Ahmed Rafay Alam in his letter (July 16). In African jungles they immobilize and capture much bigger animals with tranquillizers.

How much of wildlife do we have in Pakistan? Or wildlife reserves and sanctuaries? Man is the biggest enemy of nature. He has destroyed the beauty of nature, the oceans, the rivers, the lakes, the mountains, flora, fauna, the jungles — all for his greedy pursuits. He destroys it and then runs around to restore/preserve it without any success. What we are sowing today, our generations will reap tomorrow.

The leopard is perhaps the only big cat available and surviving in Pakistan and that too in a very small area in the north. Neighbouring India had started preserving its natural resources as far back as 1958 and by now has 80 national parks, 440 sanctuaries and 23 tiger reserves all over the country which helps to provide jobs to millions and attract tourists from all over the world.

There are many more countries which have focused on preserving their natural resources — like Kenya and other African countries. What I wonder is why none of our WWF officials came forward to stop the killing of leopards.

HAJI ASHFAQ
Muscat, Oman

 

Leopard killing
http://dawn.com/2005/07/27/letted.htm#8
THIS refers to the news about the killing of a leopard by police commandos in the Abbotabad area (July 12). Thereafter a number of letters were also published criticiszing the manner in which the animal was killed. One must say it was nothing but cold-blooded murder. The souls of Col Jim Corbett and Kenneth Anderson — the famous shikaris hunters of man-eater tigers, panthers and leopards of British India — must have been tossed restlessly.

Under normal circumstances big cats kill only for food, never wantonly, and their preys are wild beasts of the forest, or where temptation offers, village cattle and dogs but never human beings unless “disturbed”. A rifle or a gunshot wound by some trigger-happy/inexperienced shikaris render them unable to hunt their usual preys — wild animals in the forests or even cattle. Therefore they are forced to prey on man, the weakest and puniest of creatures, quite incapable of defending himself when unarmed.

The NWFP government should have acquired the services of some reputed big game hunter who could first ensure that it was the same leopard who killed two women and a girl by identifying its pug marks and its normal beat as well as other evidence. It is possible that the actual killer leopard has been driven deep into the forest after getting scared by the firing of police commandos on the other leopard and might reappear suddenly after some time to pose a threat to the people again. In fact the wildlife department should have established its identity after it was killed. In future, the services of some professional hunters should be obtained for killing man-eaters.

SQN LDR (retd) S. AUSAF HUSAIN
Karachi

 

Nathiagali leopards
http://dawn.com/2005/07/24/letted.htm#2
AFTER years of hard work the wildlife department managed to conserve the leopards of the Galiat. It is not uncommon for an odd leopard to turn man-eater once in two or three decades. Unfortunately more often than not the reason is man himself. Some irresponsible person shoots at and wounds a leopard, which then either out of spite or because of the injury sustained resorts to killing the most easily huntable species of all, man.

When a leopard turns into a man-eater, it must be captured or killed immediately because if this is not done many human lives may be lost. But the locals resort to poisoning or shooting each and every leopard they come across. Leopards that have not attacked human beings are also killed for no fault of theirs.

Finding and identifying a man-eating leopard is a job which can only be entrusted to responsible and experienced hunters, not wannabe glory hunters. Unfortunately, in our part of the world, hunting a leopard and calling it a man-eater somehow is considered to be a very brave thing.

To cite an example, two gentlemen from Lahore went over a weekend to the Galiat and killed a two-year-old female cub, which came close to the bait they had laid for her. Later these poachers cooked up a story that they were attacked by the cub.

Once a leopard charges, it almost never fails in mauling the group of hunters. This is an established fact gleaned from the experiences of hunters in Africa and India.

I sincerely request the wildlife department and authorities concerned to immediately put an end to this poaching activity and entrust the job to responsible hunters who will not kill any leopard they come across.

I hope the one killed a week back by the commandos was actually a man-eating leopard and if not, then soon we will have another loss of human life. Identifying a man-eater and capturing or killing it is a tedious, time- consuming job, involving identification of pug marks and sitting at night over human kills.

LT-COL (retd) JAWED UMER
Lahore
 


Leopard killing
http://www.dawn.com/2005/07/16/letted.htm
THIS is with reference to the news item “Police shoot killer leopard dead” (Dawn, July 12).

Regardless of whether a leopard can or cannot change its spots, one finds it difficult to believe that terminating the poor beast with extreme prejudice (15 bullets were fired) was the only option left for the police commandos deputed to carry out the operation. And that too after it had been caught in a trap. Surely a tranquilizer gun and a zoo would have been the more humane option for an animal whose only crime was being the victim of the urbanization of the Abbotabad/Galliat areas.

This unnecessary and tragic episode also reveals much about our common mentality. As early as biblical times, it was recognized that if an ox gored a man or a woman it had to die (Exodus XXI, 28). This simple principle of vengeance inherent in the norms of society of that time gradually evolved until Plutarch (in his Solon) tells us that a dog that had bitten a man was to be delivered up bound to a log four cubits long. In the centuries between these two observations about accepted practice, the concept of an eye for an eye was — although not being replaced — being redirected. During the time of the Roman emperor Justinian, the law — and by law it is meant a mechanism which enforces a society’s common ideals and practices — provided that if an animal had done damage it was to be surrendered and the damage paid for. Of course, the Roman law did not provide for damage caused by wild animals, but the point here is that, as time progressed and society developed, common ideals and practices did not condone violence against animals.

Today, the common law of the United Kingdom — which traces its origins to the principles stated above and whose features can still be discerned amongst the landscape of our own jurisprudence — does not mandate the execution of wild beasts (there are statutory exceptions, however, regarding the putting down of dangerous animals), and the damage caused by an animal owned by someone is made good by the payment of damages under the law of torts.

Though the sources quoted are mostly West-centric, one can begin to understand the history of some of our beliefs and actions. Hatred for a thing which has caused us harm is a sentiment shared by all peoples; it can even lead a civilized and educated man to kick a door when he has hurt his finger. But it is the intellectual development of the principles which guide our beliefs and actions that makes some of us realize the futility of such violence. Such intellectual development, one is afraid, was not present amongst those who murdered that unfortunate leopard.

Nothing better can be said of the reaction of the authorities in rewarding the commandos who opened fire on the confined beast.

AHMAD RAFAY ALAM
Lahore
 


Leopard killing
http://dawn.com/2005/07/22/letted.htm
THIS refers to the recent news about the killing of a leopard in Abottabad by police commandos firing 15 bullets at the beast. It remains unclear whether it was the same leopard that had reportedly killed two women and a girl. It is also debatable whether the leopard had transgressed into human territory or the swelling human population in the area had transgressed into the animal’s domain.

Such encounters are inevitable and killing an already rare animal is not a solution. The authorities concerned should have moved him deeper into the jungle by using tranquilizers or they could have captured and put the beast in a zoo instead of executing it. The world would be a much better place if only humans learnt the art of refraining from transgression.

ASIM SAEED
Lahore


(II)


THE Frontier police deserve a gold medal for shooting down a leopard with only 15 bullets. Thank God, they did not seek the help of the military for shooting down such a dangerous animal. National Geographic should take a lesson from us as to how to preserve wildlife.
COL (Retd.) ANWAR JAN BABAR

 

Senseless killing
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.as … 2005_pg3_7
Sir: I want to protest the senseless killing of the leopard in Punjab by police commandoes. It is appalling that the wildlife department gave government officials permission to shoot the leopard, a protected specie that is illegal to kill. A number of questions arise. Why was the police involved? How was the police sure that this leopard was the same “killer” leopard? Why were no alternatives considered?

Instead of killing the animal, it would have been far more humane to capture it and then relocate it. The reason that this problem arose is because we, as humans, have not respected the territory of animals — by encroaching on and stripping the natural forests we have left these animals with few options for survival. Driven by hunger, they are forced to depend on livestock, and in extreme cases, even humans. Instead of resorting to mindless slaughter, we can follow the example of Nepal, which with WWF’s help, developed timber and fuel wood plantations and an eco-tourism plan to decrease the dependency of villagers on the resources of the forest. .

It is truly regrettable that this incident took place, and one hopes that next time the government and the wildlife department will think through matters rationally before they rush off to shoot animals.

SABA IMTIAZ
Karachi
 


The leopard's senseless shooting
http://jang.com.pk/thenews/jul2005-dail … wspost.htm
This letter is to protest against the senseless killing of the leopard in Punjab by police commandoes. What is truly appalling is how the wildlife department gave government officials permission to shoot the leopard, which is protected and it is illegal to kill it. A number of questions arise: Why was the police involved? How was the police sure that this leopard was the same leopard which killed people? Why were no alternative methods considered?

It would have been far more humane to capture and tranquilise the animal and then look at a number of approaches that have been successful in different countries, including relocation. The reason that this problem has risen is because we, as humans, have not respected the territory of animals. By encroaching on and stripping the forests we have left these animals with few options for survival.

Driven by hunger, they are forced to depend on livestock, and in extreme cases, even humans. Instead of resorting to mindless slaughter, we can follow the example of Nepal, which, with the WWF's aid, developed timber and fuel wood plantations and an eco-tourism plan to decrease the dependence of villagers on the resources of the forest that surrounded a national park, and to stop degradation of the tigers' natural habitats. Their eco-tourism plan raised $306,000. One hopes that the government and the wildlife department will think through matters rationally before they rush off to shoot animals.

Saba Imtiaz
Karachi

 

Slaughtering the endangered leopard
http://jang.com.pk/thenews/jul2005-dail … wspost.htm
This refers to Dr. S. Khursheed Waheed's letter on the merciless killing of an endangered leopard in the northern region (The News, July 14). From what one reads, it appears that the wrong animal was killed. Two days after the slaying in daily Jang reported that a leopard in the same area attacked another person. There were no follow-ups of this news.

While no one can disagree with what the learned doctor has written about this police action and the role of the wildlife department, the time has come to question the legitimacy of the numerous NGOs claiming their devotion to preservation and conservation of wildlife, ecology and environment. It is time to make them answerable for their total lack of action or even reaction in the matter. They should account for the consumption of huge sums which they seem to be stashing away without using even a small amount on what they were intended for.

Most of all the World Wildlife Fund should explain their failure to restrain the action, which came about after much had appeared in the press and media for several days thus giving them sufficient time to react and save the situation. It is time to close down the NGOs and this funded organisation that professes to be working for the betterment of wild life. They have lost moral justification for their existence after the cruel elimination of an endangered animal in such a highly corrupt manner.

M. Zubair Osmani
Islamabad

 

Slaughtering the endangered leopard
http://jang.com.pk/thenews/jul2005-dail … wspost.htm
It was sad to learn that a leopard was recently killed mercilessly. For a couple of months, there has been regular news informing us of repeated attacks of leopard on people and cattle in the north of the country. The Wildlife Department must be fully aware of the consequences of trapping the beast. Instead of an animal being killed, sedative darts should be fired at it, so that it could be relocated. In modern times animals are sedated and transported without any problem. Even surgical operations are carried out on large beasts after sedation. Killing the animal in this manner is just senseless.

In my opinion, the officials of the police department who shot and killed this beast should be suspended, instead of being given an award, as the news items reported.

The Wildlife Department and the police should prepare themselves to face a similar situation in a more appropriate manner.

Dr S. Khursheed Waheed
Lahore

 

Take Action:

 

Join the fight to save the common leopards in Pakistan by helping to spread the word and by writing letters or e-mails.

Sign an online petition
Please click on the link below to sign an online petition to stop the proposal of Leopard trophy hunting in the Galliat areas. The petition will be forwarded to GOP and other key officials.

 

http://www.petitiononline.com/lep_9553/petition.html

 

Write letters or e-mails to key officials

Write letters/e-mails to the officials listed below, telling them your concern.

 

Dr. Mohammad Mumtaz Malik
Conservator of Wildlife
NWFP Wildlife Department
Shami Road
Peshawar, Pakistan
Tel: ++92-91-9211479
Fax:++92-91-9212099

e-mail: wild@psh.paknet.com.pk

 

Mr. Safdar Ali Shah
Divisional Forest Officer
Abbottabad Wildlife Division
Abbottabad

e-mail: safdir@brain.net.pk

 

Mr. Amjad Aslam

WWF – Pakistan,
Ferozepur Road, Lahore.
UAN: 111-WWF-PAK(993-725)
Tel: +92 42 5862360, 5869429,
Fax: 042 5862358,
e-mail: aaslam@wwf.org.pk

 

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