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Monday November 29, 2021

Ministry starts spadework to set up Leopard Reserve in Margalla Hills

October 16, 2021

Islamabad : The spadework to set up a Leopard Reserve in the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP) would be completed in next couple of weeks.

According to the details, the climate change ministry has decided to implement the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan at the earliest regarding establishment of the Leopard Reserve with an aim to increase population of leopards in the national park.

An official said the paper work would be completed and presented to the relevant authorities for approval, adding “The details about the Leopard Reserve are likely to be announced in the coming weeks.”

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday directed that a preservation zone should be set up in the hills to ensure natural habitat for the endangered species.

The local people maintain that leopards were commonly seen in the Margalla hills till 1990 but after that their population started declining due to increasing human interventions.

The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) has recently informed that there were five leopards in the hills that showed restoration of natural habitats could help bring back leopards to the national park.

The IWMB also released images of a female common leopard named Shezadi found to be a permanent resident of the territory between trails 4 and 6. Shezadi was caught on camera after traps were set up by IWMB staff for several evenings in a row in late January this year.

The common leopard is a critically endangered species and the top predator of the park. Leopards are very territorial and a leopard that knows its territory, often measuring over 50 square kilometres, is much safer than a new leopard that moves in to claim the dead leopard's territory.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam has said that the lockdowns after emergence of coronavirus pandemic provided a cordial environment to the wildlife species including common leopards in the Margalla Hills.

“Now a family of leopards is living in the forest area and establishment of the Leopard Reserve would greatly help increase their population in the coming years,” he said.