ISLAMABAD: The Asian leopard is usually seen in the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP) during the daytime however it poses no threat to humans in general.

The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) recently captured a male leopard strolling in the leopard preserve zone during the afternoon. However, the IWMB chairperson clarified that the movement was inside the protected zone and it was not a threat to humans entering the national park.

When contacted, senior IWMB member and an experienced naturalist and ornithologist Prof Dr Zahid Baig Mirza said the approaching cool weather would induce male leopards to attempt to enter female territory with full consciousness of the female’s tolerance.

Changes in weather conditions may compel male leopards to wander even during the day time, Dr Mirza said, adding that during non-breeding period, the female leopard does not allow any male to enter her territory. She allows a dominant male to visit her territory, only when her breeding hormones induce her to do so. Mature females cannot enter each others’ territories, he added.

Pakistan Wildlife Foundation Vice President Safwan Ahmed said the fact that leopards were nocturnal was becoming scientifically obsolete both in the cases of African and Asian leopards.

If the leopard is resting on a tree and finds any deer or prey passing below, it will definitely descend and chase its prey be it in the morning or evening, he said, adding that movement of the animal during the day was not unusual.

Mr Ahmed said male leopards spotted in camera traps were muscular and experts were satisfied with this development.

Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2022

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