Leopard cub dies in Muzaffarabad

Greater Kashmir

Muzaffarabad, Feb 10: A seven-month old leopard cub, which was recovered by the wildlife watchdogs, assisted by the local police, from the illegal possession of a villager on Friday night, succumbed to his illness here on Sunday.
 The cub was in a state of severe stress, hit by common cold and was not eating anything despite desperate efforts by the PaK wildlife department personnel ever since its recovery from Hir Kutli village, some 21 kilometres northwest of here. 
 The confinement had badly affected his health because its illegal occupant did not know how to feed and handle the species.
 The cub, weighing around six kilograms, was supposed to be shifted to Islamabad on Monday for its treatment in the federal zoo in view of unavailability of specialised treatment facilities in the local veterinary labs in the PaK capital.
 However, on Saturday evening, the PaK wildlife department officials were directed by the higher authorities to handover the ailing cub to their counterparts from the neighbouring North West Frontier Province on Sunday for its treatment in a centre in Mansehra district.
 But before anyone could turn up from the NWFP, the young leopard died of his illness at about 3 pm, Sardar Javed Ayub, director PaK wildlife department told this correspondent. 
 He told that the body of the cub would now be transported to Islamabad on Monday for autopsy.
 “This will help us determine the exact cause of the cub’s death,” he said.
 Ayub admitted that his department was not properly equipped to coup with such situations.
 “We don’t have any treatment or diagnostic facilities. Nor do we have any veterinarian on our roll who can properly diagnose and treat wild animals and birds struck by any illness,” he said.
 The wildlife department boss also took strong exception to the incidents of killing or caging the leopards by the villagers on the pretext that it had been eating their cattle and warned such people against strict penalty.
 “The government will compensate them for the loss of their cattle at the hands of wild animals provided they produce its substantial evidence. But let it be very clear to all that the killing of precious species under this pretext will not be tolerated at any cost,” he said. 
 He said protection of wildlife was a national responsibility of every citizen, and not the government or any particular department alone.
 “Without the cooperation of community, this protection is not possible. Apart from personal efforts, community should immediately inform the authorities concerned about any harm to wildlife by unscrupulous elements,” he said.
 The common leopard, zoologically known as Panthera Pardus, is regarded as “threatened species” which is one degree less than the endangered species. Panthera Pardus is found in the mountains of Kashmir, adjoining Murree hills and parts of the NWFP.
 Although no correct census has been held in any part of Pakistan to determine its population, PaK officials, citing indirect evidence, however claim that it has increased in their region over the past seven or so years.