Pakistan

LAHORE (Staff Report) – Experts call for conservation of common leopards in Pakistan, which are critically endangered due to loss of its habitat and conflict with local communities.

In a meeting, Dr Uzma Khan, Director Biodiversity, WWF-Pakistan briefed media participants about the latest research findings on the common Pakistani leopard.

Young Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya), Yala National Park, Sri Lanka

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Presenting some aspects of her doctoral research, Dr Khan said, “Conflict with local communities is a serious issue and the primary reason for loss of habitat, which has caused the loss of natural prey species of the leopard”.

She added that due to loss of its natural habitat, the leopard has become dependent on domestic animals for its food resources, which leads to agitation in communities and retaliatory killings of leopards.

However, based on data provided by communities showed that more livestock is lost due to disease than compared to the leopard.

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Dr Khan addressed misconceptions about growing population of leopard, adding the sighting of the animal has increased because the communities have penetrated the habitat that has reduced the range of the leopard range.

Human-leopard conflict is another threat to the leopard’s survival as herders graze openly in the species’ habitat and retaliate when a leopard kills their livestock. “Communities should know that livestock grazing in a leopard’s habitat is not just dangerous for their animals but for themselves as well,’ Dr Khan added.