AJK wildlife guards evacuate injured leopard

Published January 23, 2022
NEELUM VALLEY: The injured leopard being shifted to a rehabilitation centre in Islamabad on Saturday.—AFP
NEELUM VALLEY: The injured leopard being shifted to a rehabilitation centre in Islamabad on Saturday.—AFP

MUZAFFARABAD: Wi­ld­­life guards on Saturday evacuated a seriously injured common leopard from along the rocky bank of River Neelum and shifted it to a rehabilitation centre for wild animals in the federal capital for treatment, an official said.

Naeem Iftikhar Dar, head of the Wildlife and Fisheries Department of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), told Dawn that the leopard was believed to have fallen from the Neelum valley road onto the riverbank overnight near Nosadda village, some 35km northeast of here.

“Either the big cat was hit by some vehicle or lost its balance due to some other reason which made it fall on to the rocks, fracturing its backbone and hind legs,” he said.

Some villagers spotted the carnivore on Saturday morning, half submerged in the icy water and tried to rescue it, but in vain. Sensing that the animal was hungry, the villagers also fed him with chickens.

Mr Dar said he along with a departmental team also reached the area to rescue the leopard. The team managed to evacuate the wild animal to the roadside without using a dart gun.

He said the injured leopard was shifted to Muzaffarabad for initial treatment. However, in view of its critical condition, it was referred to the wildlife rehabilitation centre run by the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board.

The authoritative Red List of ‘Threatened Species’ compiled by the Inter­national Union for the Conservation of Nature classifies leopards as “near-threatened” species.

Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2022

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