Searching for food?: Girl killed in leopard attack

Published: January 25, 2015
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Villagers protest against wildlife dept on Karakoram Highway. STOCK IMAGE

Villagers protest against wildlife dept on Karakoram Highway. STOCK IMAGE

ABBOTTABAD: A girl died after being attacked by a leopard in Bandiyala Bagh village of Galiyat, police and hospital officials told The Express Tribune on Sunday.

The victim was identified as five-year-old Saba Noor. According to her father Muhammad Manzoor, the incident occurred on Saturday evening when his daughter went to answer nature’s call behind their house.

“After a few minutes I heard her cry for help,” he said, “I rushed to the back of our house and saw a leopard try to drag her off deeper into the forest.”

Manzoor and a group of villagers followed the animal. They threw rocks and fired warning shots to scare the leopard away.

Saba was critically injured and shifted to Benazir Shaheed Teaching Hospital Abbottabad. However, she bled to death before medical attention could be provided to her.

According to the doctors, she had suffered severe wounds to her neck and torso.

An official in the wildlife department said heavy snowfall in winters forces leopards downhill, closer to populated areas in search for food. Sometime, when they fail to find prey, they attack cattle and people, he added.

Villagers said over half a dozen people, including two children, from various villages across Galiyat have been killed in leopard attacks over the last year and a half.

Up in arms

Following the incident, a large number of villagers protested against the wildlife department for the leopard attack.

They blocked Fawara Chowk on Karakoram Highway and demanded the victim’s family receive adequate compensation. The protest lasted two hours and was led by JI leader Abdul Razaq Abbasi.

Abbasi said villagers had repeatedly urged officials of the wildlife department to take measures to trap the leopards as people’s mobility has been heavily restricted due to the undeterred movement of these animals. However, their complaints had fallen on deaf ears.

The demonstrators dispersed peacefully after the Abbottabad DC arrived on the scene and assured them action would be taken against the wildlife department.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2015.

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