Gilgit-Baltistan Wildlife department to probe leopard death, Pakistan

Snow Leopard dies in Wildlife Dept’s custody
February 26, 2011 (2 days ago)

The villagers claimed that they had caught the wild cat alive.—File photo
SKARDU: A Snow Leopard which had spread terror among villagers allegedly died in the custody of the Wildlife Department on Saturday.
The wild-cat had come out of a forest in search of food last month and had spread panic among the residents of Minthal by killing livestock.
On Saturday morning, the villagers followed and caught the cat and handed it over to the Wildlife Department but it died soon after.
The villagers claimed that they had caught the wild cat alive.
The Wildlife Department said that it will conduct a post-mortem of the cat after which the cause of its death can be determined.
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Wildlife dept to probe leopard death
By Shabbir Mir
Published: February 28, 2011

GILGIT: The wildlife department of Gilgit-Baltistan has constituted a committee to probe the killing of a rare snow leopard beaten to death by residents in a remote village, officials told The Express Tribune on Sunday.

“We have constituted a committee to thoroughly investigate the matter,” said Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Ghulam Mohammad.

Earlier on Saturday, locals in Mathal, a village in Skardu, captured and tortured a snow leopard, which they claimed had killed dozens of their livestock previously. “This time too, the lethal predator had attacked our livestock and injured it,” said Wafa Khan, a resident of Skardu.

As a precautionary measure, locals said they had been prepared to counter the threat and when they learnt the leopard had ambushed the cattle, they reacted swiftly to save it. “This time around, people were alert so the leopard failed to inflict huge losses,” said a resident from Skardu, Raza Hussain.

Sources said people were waiting for the cat and when it arrived, they tried to capture it alive. Some threw a large blanket around it while others caught her tail. In the wrangling, the wild animal sustained injuries on her head and other parts of her body as it was hit to the wall repeatedly.

“After hectic efforts, the leopard was overpowered and handed over to forest officials,” said a villager, adding that the leopard died while she was in custody of officials from the forest department, who had a veterinary doctor to have the leopard inspected.

DFO Mohammad said that besides forest officials, a veterinary doctor and a snow leopard expert will also be part of the committee that will submit its findings to him. “There are various conflicting reports with respect to the killing of the precious wild animal,” he said, adding that severe legal action will be taken if anyone is found guilty of the killing.

According to wildlife laws, a perpetrator can face more than two years imprisonment for killing the rare cat.

The snow leopard is one of the most endangered wild animals found in the mountainous region.

Conservationists say that wild animals turn towards human settlements when they don’t find food in the mountains. “When illegal hunting of animals such as Markhor and Ibex will take place, these animals will naturally turn towards human settlements in search of food,” said an environmentalist in Gilgit. He added that the survival of this precious animal is under threat due to illegal hunting.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2011.

4 thoughts on “Gilgit-Baltistan Wildlife department to probe leopard death, Pakistan”

  1. Death of a female snowleopard in Skardu area is a great blow to the conservation of this Himalayan ecological indicator species and reflect gap addressing of wildlife conservation related issues at local level.First of all people from the area are to be sesitised about the role(ecological importance) of snowleopard in wildlife conservation , how to deal when there are repeated attacks on the livstocks\human beings ,mass cattle insurance of the livestock at subsidised premium, better \improvement of animal managemental practices !Each and every National Park\Sanctuary should have a qualified wildlife vet who is available all around and able to provide in emergency to avoid such incidences in future !

  2. Sick snow leopard captured by villagers in Skardu, dies
    Posted on February 27, 2011
    by Pamir Times

    A villager is seen capturing the visibly weak and drenched snow leopard. Image: Ali PT Report

    Islamabad, February 27: Villagers in Skardu captured a sick snow leopard and handed it over to officials of the Wildlife Department.

    According to details, a snow leopard stranded into the Manthal village, located near Skardu, capital of the Baltistan Division. A group of villagers gathered to capture the beast and after a lot of struggle they were able to control it.

    According to Ghulam Muhammad, an eye witness, the villagers initially refused to handover the Snow Leopard to officials of the Wildlife Department because their cattle had gotten killed by the beast in the past. The villagers suspected that it was the same beast and demanded compensation for their loss from the government officials.

    The Wildlife department officials, however, managed to convince the villagers to handover the snow leopard to them, because they wanted to save its life.

    The District Forest Officer (DFO) promised to the people that their demands will be forwarded to the higher authorities for consideration. The villagers also gave a written document of their demand to the officials for due consideration.

    Ghulam Muhammad told Pamir Times that the Snow Leopard may have been a victim of some skin disease, as confirmed by a veterinary doctor and the a Deputy Director of the Animal Husbandry department. A proper report in this regard is being prepared.

    The Snow Leopard, weak as it was, reportedly died in custody of the Wildlife Department. Reportedly, there were no signs of injury on body of the snow leopard.

  3. Captured snow leopard dies in custody
    Published: March 2, 2011

    A sick snow leopard, found on Saturday and later handed over to the Wildlife Department, died on Tuesday. The sick animal had been found by a group of villagers near Manthal Village, 3 kilometres from Skardu.

    Initially, they refused to hand it over to the Wildlife Department because their cattle had been killed by snow leopards. They suspected that the sick animal was to be blamed and demanded compensation for their loss. However Wildlife Department and WWF officials managed to convince the villagers to handover the snow leopard after promising to forward a written list of demands presented by them to the higher authorities for consideration.

    Veterinary doctors and the Deputy Director of the Animal Husbandry department confirmed that the snow leopard had mange (skin disease), general weakness and pneumonia, though there were no signs of external injury on its body. The snow leopard reportedly died in the custody of the department on Tuesday.

    Published in The Express Tribune, March 2nd, 2011.

  4. The killing of this snow leopard is an outrage to me.

    I believe if the appropriate authorities are not performing their responsibilities properly, then it is not enough for others just to read, write, or watch news about such a loss of an endangered species. The government’s administration, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and anyone – and everyone – who is concerned about the survival of the snow leopard and understands its importance in maintaining a healthy ecosystem, should concern themselves with the investigation involving the torture and death of this particular animal.

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