ISLAMABAD: Forest officials have found the body of a male leopard that had died under mysterious circumstances, Dawn learnt through sources on Tuesday.

The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) first denied the incident.

It was after Dawn shared evidence — video clips of IWMB staff investigating the scene of the incident and carrying the dead leopard away — when IWMB Chairperson Rina Saeed Khan stated: “We are waiting for the toxin report to return from a local government veterinary hospital to avoid speculation and before accusing someone.”

The IWMB said the leopard’s heart, liver, kidney, lungs and intestines had been sent for a forensic analysis.

As the IWMB waited for a detailed postmortem, a preliminary check indicated a fractured skull but no external wounds, bullet holes, not a scratch.

The histopathology report from the veterinary hospital was due on Monday.

The dead leopard found in a ravine in Sinyari adjacent to Kalinjer behind the Navel Defence Complex was believed to be 10 years old.

It had possibly fell to death during a fight with another leopard. In the wild, leopards can live up to 15 years, if lucky.

Sinyari was more isolated because it is remote and has always known to be home to a leopard.

The area was not disturbed by human activities such as tree cutting.

The IWMB said that the rosette patterns of the dead leopard did not match any feline in the preserve established for apex predator in the Margalla Hills National Park.

“The only way to ascertain that a new leopard has moved in is only after our camera traps capture its images. We will know in a week or so,” said Ms Khan.

Two weeks ago, leopard sightings near Saidpur village that has encroached into the Margalla Hills National Park spread panic amongst residents.

Although early, but Ms Khan ruled out the possibility that the animal was poisoned. “There was no bleeding or foaming around the mouth of the dead leopard,” she said.

However, after the leopard sightings in Saidpur, IWMB staff has been distributing pamphlets among villagers to spread awareness and how to respond upon sighting a leopard again.

The IWMB will hold a meeting with wildlife experts and one of its board members Z.B. Mirza for the final word on the matter.

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2022

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