IWMB educating village population to avoid killing leopard: Rina Saeed.

ISLAMABAD -- Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) Chairperson Rina Saeed Khan on Sunday said the Board was educating the village population of 32 villages existing inside the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP) during jumma prayer's sermon to avoid leopard killing and habitat intrusion.

The IWMB after witnessing a thriving population of endangered Common Asian Leopards and other wildlife species expedited its conservation, education and preservation efforts to protect the world's unique and living ecosystem nourishing along a human settlement, the Chairperson told reporter in an exclusive interaction to share her insights on the story behind the success of Leopard preservation in MHNP.

Rina Saeed Khan said the Board used to hold training for the village population to avoid killing leopards by educating them on prevention and safety measures to abstain leopard encounters.

"Leopards are not interested in going into villages. There have been cases that goats have been attacked by leopard but that needs to be probed and we will work out some compensation mechanism as well. However the prevailing economic conditions are not viable," she said.

She underlined that urbanisation in the federal capital and population boom had extended human frontiers to wild areas.

In 1980 Margalla Hills National Park was designated as a protected area and it was a small trip in the sprawling forest area, not big, as it was between capital and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province.

The Chairperson added that in 2021, the Board got full fledge recruitment and last year it got proper management team including a Director, Deputy Director, Assitant Director and an Accounts Officer.

"We don't stop anyone from going to hiking trails, but we have to do coexistence with nature. You can see pheasants, jackals, barking deers and leopards."

Leopards, she said was an indicator of a good ecosystem whereas the visitors and trekkers should avoid venturing into the national park in the early morning and evening hours.

The National Park, she said was divided into 20 blocks and 20 camera traps were installed so that the Board could hold a study of leopard and other wild animals' movement.

She said interestingly every leopard has a unique forehead pattern that helps in its identification. "We have identified eight individual leopards that are the only ones captured in the cameras. Leopards, both male and female, live in separate territories and only unite for matings," she added.


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