Contesting claims: Villagers say two leopards killed, officials confirm one

Locals maintain the animal was killed owing to fear of attacks.

Our Correspondent January 11, 2013
“It is yet to be determined if the animal was shot in a populated area or in the forest,”says wildlife official. PHOTO: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC


Wildlife officials on Thursday confirmed that a leopard had been killed in the Beerot area, but villagers said a second leopard was also shot dead by unknown persons in Khera Gali area.

“I have the body of only one dead leopard so I cannot confirm the killing of the second one, unless I have possession of the carcass,” said Wildlife Range Officer Muhammad Khurshid.

He added it was shot dead in a far off village in Longial in the union council of Beerot four days earlier.

Khurshid said the leopard was a female aged between 5 to 6 years and was not an adult. He added the reason for it being killed had not yet been ascertained. “It is yet to be determined if the animal was shot in a populated area or in the forest.”

Khurshid said he would begin an inquiry and submit his report to the district wildlife officer within a week. “The killer would be brought to justice under wildlife laws.”

He estimated about 22 to 40 pairs of common leopards live in the area.

Villagers said unidentified locals shot the leopards owing to increased attacks in the Galiat region. They maintained the second leopard had been killed in Khera Gali area of Nathiagali on Wednesday.

According to them, wildlife authorities shifted the bodies of both animals to the range office in Abbottabad. They added the dead animals would later be sent to the Peshawar wildlife museum to be stuffed and preserved.

Wildlife authorities placed cages to trap leopards who venture towards villages following a recent attack on a girl in Bagan village a few days earlier, said locals.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2013.

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