Leopard cat died after caught in conflagration in Kashmir

Apparently, the leopard venture outside of its designated area within the game reserve to protect itself from wildfire, flamed by villagers. Photo: Amiruddin Mughal / Kashmir Image

By: Jalaluddin Mughal / Kashmir Image

Despite the efforts of organizations and government departments dedicated to raising awareness and protection for the world’s most endangered species, several wild animals of endangered and rare species are under threat in Himalayan range of Pakistan administrated Kashmir (PaK) goes on. In a recent incident, a rarely seen leopard died after getting scorched when villagers put a pasture on fire to burn dry weeds in Qaazi Naaf game reserve area near Muzaffarabad, the PaK capital.

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Locals also provide meet to the hungry cat and treat the injuries, but all in vain. Photo Amiruddin Mughal / Kashmir Image

According to a report from Kasmir Image, the scorched cat died when wildlife officers were in the process of transporting the cat for treatment. The cat was earlier caged by villagers when it sneaked into the village area to save itself from blaze.

“My son found the injured cat,’’ Nazir Usmani, a resident of Khatir Nar village, told Kasmir Image. He further told that cat was seriously injured and apparently hungry since many days. “We caged it and informed wildlife officials to rescue it,’’ Usmani said, adding that when they—wildlife officials—came, it was died.

Locals also provide meet to the hungry cat and treat the injuries.

“Leopard cat is a rare animal and has been sighted only in a few areas of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir—PaK ,” said Naeem Dar, Deputy Director of the Wildlife Department, while talking to Kashmir Image.

“Hunting, caging and trading the leopard cat is illegal,” Dar said adding that Government and organizations are trying their best to create awareness about the importance of wildlife in the region but still sometimes “effort go in vain” when people kill them—intentionally  or unintentionally.

“We—the department of wildlife—don’t have facilities and expert to treat injured ill wild animals and birds,” Dar said, adding the most of the time when they need to cure a wild creature, they call doctor from Islamabad, Pakistan.

“Today we also called a doctor from Islamabad,” Dar said. “But when he reached here, the cat was met with its end,” he added.

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During winter season, people in many areas of Pakistan administrated Kashmir put pastures on fire to burn the dry weeds and get fresh grass for cattle. Photo Amiruddin Mughal / Kashmir Image

Neelum Valley Cluster Coordination Development Forum (NVCCDF), and organization working on wildlife conservation in the region, reported that the endangered leopard had apparently venture outside of its designated area within the game reserve to protect itself from wildfire, flamed by villagers—to burn the weeds and get fresh grass for cattle.

“Leopards and bears mostly killed by local people when they venture to villages and attack cattle,” said Mumtaz Husan, an office bearer of NVCCD. “But this time the cat was not killed deliberately. It rather caught in fire accidently,” he added.

The animal’s unfortunate demise mirrors a similar incident which occurred a few months back, when an injured black bear died without the medical aid in Machiara National Park.

10941903_10203598721188907_889612023644257795_nJalaluddin Mughal is chief editor at kashmirimage.com and regular contributor to other print and online publications

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