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Full Version: Islamabad: First leopard sighted at Margallas
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Mobarik A. Virk
The first sighting of a leopard on the Margalla hills was reported Monday evening when a trail-goer, Dr Khawar Randhawa, saw one healthy, apparently a male leopard only 100 meters from the car parking area at the foot of Trail-V opposite Judges Colony.

“I was a little bit early for my hike today and as I was returning to the base, towards the car parking, I saw this healthy-looking fully grown, brightly dotted leopard standing in the middle of the trail hardly a 100 meters away. The sight was exciting as the beast appeared unruffled or alarmed and at the same time it was fearsome to see the animal, known well for its ferocity, so close,” Dr Khawar Randhawa told ‘The News’.

The leopard sighting on the Margallas in the winter season is not very unusual and in the past as well beasts descend from the heights with the winter getting harsher. However, sighting of a leopard at such an early stage of winter is somehow unusual. But when the officials in the Directorate of Environment of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) were contacted, they told ‘The News’ that leopard is no longer a visitor to the Margallas only for winters.

“For the last almost 10 years leopard has become a resident specie of Margallas and we are quite pleased with this development. In fact we have been frequently monitoring their presence in ‘Dara Jangle valley’ spread between Trail-III and Trail-V as their footprints and other signs of their presence have been witnessed quite often,” a senior official of the Environment Directorate of the CDA told ‘The News’.

According to our estimates there are more than five pairs of leopards present in the Margallas and the number seems to be growing because sighting of young cubs have also been reported quite frequently. Besides, there are intermittent reports of animal killings by these leopards by the villagers settled in pockets in the Margallas, an indicator of permanent presence of leopard here,” he added.

CDA spokesman Syed Mustafain Kazmi, when contacted said that the information about the presence of leopards in Margalla hills is clearly indicated on the board installed at the foothills near Marghazar Zoo on which the names of all the birds, animals, and reptiles, which are present in the Margalla hills are noted.

The Environment Directorate official said that leopard is not dangerous and prefers to stay away from human. “There have been reports of these leopards attacking and killing animals such as goats, small calves or dogs. But there have been no reports of them attacking human beings. So, I think there is no need to be alarmed and the beast will never attack unless it may feel threatened itself,” the official said.

He pointed out that a few years back one leopard even entered the Marghazar Zoo and killed a few animals in the cages. “We laid the trap and eventually managed to catch the beast. But, I think instead of getting alarmed we should feel happy that this animal has returned to stay in its natural habitat and we should not disturb or hurt them to turn them away,” he said.
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