Wildlife: Snow leopard on the prowl in Gilgit
By Shabbir Mir
Published: April 5, 2011
The endangered animal has been on a killing spree of cattle for weeks.
A snow leopard – also known as the Uncia or Panthera uncial – went on a killing spree in a remote Valley of Gilgit late on Sunday, slaughtering a dozen goats owned by a poor shepherd.
The incident occurred in a pre-dawn attack at Nazim Abad – a village of Sost Gojal, which is about 300 kilometres from Gilgit and is adjacent to the Pak-China border at Sost.
Chairman Khunjerab Village Organisation (KVO) Rehman Posh, who is also a conservationist, told The Express Tribune that, “The wild cat has killed 11 live stock including goat and sheep.” He added that the snow leopard had managed to break into a cattle shed, belonging to Ashim Shah, a shepherd.
“I examined the spot after a villager informed me of the incident and found that seven cattle were dead while four were seriously injured,” he said, adding that the wounded animals were put down as they had little to no chances of survival.
Posh said that the snow leopard has been on the rampage for the past couple of week in the valley, as it had previously killed two domesticated animals (yaks) in the Morphun area. He said that in the wake of the attacks, locals have stepped up security of their livestock as the assaults usually come as surprise.
Posh added that the incident was immediately brought to the notice of the forests and wildlife department. Asked if they will provide any compensation to the owner of the cattle, the chairman said that they were in the process of dialogue with the aggrieved party and said that his organisation would provide compensation to the farmer. He, however, didn’t say how much.
Divisional forests officer [DFO] Wildlife Ghulam Mohammad told The Express Tribune that he has assigned the task of verification and compilation of the report of the incident to his subordinates. He said that such incidents in the Gilgit-Baltistan are frequent and that a systematic approach is needed to settle the issue.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 5th, 2011.