A lone snow leopard wrecked havoc in a remote valley of Gilgit one night, killing 68 goats in six separate incidents, officials said on Thursday. The attacks also left six goats critically injured.
The animal broke into the corrals at Dhee Village, Gojal near the Pak-China border before killing the goats, Rehman Posh, a conservationist working with the Khunjerab Village Organisation, told The Express Tribune on Thursday.
“Bodies of the animals were scattered all over the place after the incident,” said Posh, adding that the people got enraged over the depredation that inflicted a huge financial loss on them.
Giving the breakdown, Rehman Posh said that 23 of the goats belonged to Mirza Mohammad, 13 to Ali Baig, 12 to Bahadur, nine to Aslam, seven to Ghulam Rasool and four to Qalandar Shah.
Talking about the different organisations that are trying to protect the endangered species, a group of villagers said they were not satisfied with their “mere lip services”.
“We have submitted our complaints. But they just come to tell us the importance of the snow leopards. They never recompense the poor herders who bear the losses,” a farmer said.
DFO Wildlife, Ghulam Mohammad, while regretting the losses, said the communities will make them up by the fees obtained from trophy hunting of Ibex and Markhor. “Apart from the trophy hunting fee, 75 percent of the entry fee of Khunjerab National Park also goes to the communities, and we hope that the loss is somewhat covered up with this income,” he said.
Attacks of snow leopard on the goats are frequent in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) as conservations blame loss of habitat, climate change, and scarcity of food are some of the factors behind the belligerent attitude of the cat. Sources say about 100 animals have been killed by snow leopards in G-B in the past one year.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 27th, 2011.