CHITRAL, July 31: With the financial assistance of the USAID, the Snow Leopard Foundation here on Wednesday launched a project for protecting snow leopard in central Chitral.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, the director conservation of SLF Hafeez Buzdar said the pastures of six villages in central Chitral were habitats of the wild beast. He said local people often killed the wildcat to prevent their cattle from its attacks in the pastures.

“The project has evolved a two-pronged strategy of conservation and research,” he said and added under the conservation strategy, economic activities would be created in Koghuzi, Barghuzi, Kuju, Bokhtuli, Parsan and Mori Payeen villages to compensate the farmers for the losses.

“Villagers will be given training on animal husbandry and the environmental significance of the snow leopard to treat it as their friend not as foe,” he said. He said vaccination of livestock would also be carried out and corrals would be constructed in the pastures to save the goats from leopard’s attacks.

Mr Buzdar said the USAID support would of great help in meeting needs of the poor people.

On the occasion, the divisional forest officer of Chitral wildlife division Imtiaz Hussain said the snow leopard was of prime importance in the ecosystem. “The leopard only attacked the ailing goat in the herd thus, it was the friend not the foe,” he said. — Correspondent

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