A Male Leopard has Been Spotted Near Islamabad’s Main Hiking Trails for the First Time

A recent camera trap image shows a bigger male leopard, which had never been spotted before near the hiking trails.

There are not two but possibly three families of common leopard in the Margalla Hills National Park, Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) reports

All kinds of wild animals, including fox, martins, porcupines, barking deer, jackals and wild boars among others have descended from the hills, enjoying the lack of human activity and exploring empty spaces that were previously littered with hikers.

IWMB Chairman Dr Anis Rehman said: “This was their habitat that was taken away from them. Not only have they been breathing cleaner air but enjoying freedom of movement. It is so rare to spot an animal as iconic as the leopard. Because the preying species of the leopard are being well protected by our staff, the leopard is flourishing.”

A heartbreaking image of a  fox carrying a plastic bottle in its mouth has also been captured. “It is as if the fox is cleaning up after,” said Dr Rehman. His staff also hopes to find goral deer, which disappeared from the Margalla Hills, a decade ago.

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The board has also issued licences to villagers to pick Kachnaar buds to help them during times when incomes have dropped. Familiar with the terrain, Mohibullah from the IWMB who installs camera traps, hopes to capture more fascinating images of animals in spaces where they were afraid to move before.

Responding to a question, Dr Rehman said: “During the lockdown, wild animals are not at risk of contracting coronavirus. Since all human activity has been restricted in the national park, the animals are safe from the disease.”


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