ISLAMABAD: A critically injured common Asian leopard rescued from along the rocky bank of Neelum River succumbed to injuries on Sunday at an Islamabad’s rehabilitation centre where it was under treatment.
The leopard was rescued by the Wildlife and Fisheries Department of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Saturday and was later shifted to Islamabad the same day where efforts were carried out by the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) to save the animal.
“This was an act of casual killing of a beautiful wild animal that is already vulnerable to extinction,” said IMWB chairperson Rina Saeed Khan. Its X-ray revealed five to six pellets from a 12-bore shotgun inside the body. One pellet was lodged in the middle of the vertebral column that caused paralysis, she said.
“The animal had been dragging herself after it was paralysed in the hind legs. Vets tried to operate to save the animal but to no avail. The animal was not hit by a car. A hunter tried to kill it in AJK,” Ms Khan lamented.
The hunter probably shot the leopard from above as she came to Neelum River to drink water.
Ms Khan said that even after being badly injured, the leopard still had so much life in it. However, it could not survive the operation because of the spine damaged by pellets and one in the neck,” the IWMB chairperson said.
The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board said the female leopard had cubs that could be found within a 10-kilometre range.
It was earlier believed that the big cat had been hit by some vehicle or lost its balance due to some other reason which made it fall onto the rocks, fracturing its backbone and hind legs.
Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2022