A wild leopard captured after killing two children in Abbottabad’s Thandiyani and Galyat last November has gone missing from the Safari Park of Rang Mala Peran.
It has not helped that Malakand wildlife officials have refused to comment. “At first they were not even accepting that the animal has escaped,” a resident and social activist Rasheed Khan told The Express Tribune. It was only after four days had passed that one official revealed the truth on November 22.
“Now most people carry guns when they leave their homes in the area.” They avoid staying out after dark and in the early morning. Khan himself, who used to walk the trails in the park, has quit out of fear.
The fears of the Rang Mala Peran residents appear to be well founded. At least 35 leopards have been officially reported in the forests of Galyat, Thandiyani, Mansehra, Kaghan and Naran. The animals have been moving closer to the city areas as their natural habitat, the forests, have been ruthlessly felled.
To make matters worse, the wildlife department appears not be acting fast enough. Political leader and Rang Mala elder, Alam Khan, told The Express Tribune that they had visited the department thrice in two days requesting them to capture the beast as soon as possible. “If the animal attacks anyone, we will hold the wildlife department responsible,” he warned.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 27th, 2012.