Sunday September 24, 2023

‘Leopard’s daytime patrol no threat to humans’

October 04, 2022

Islamabad:The Common Asian Leopard’s daytime patrolling is natural and not an abnormal movement or threat to humans venturing into the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP).

The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) recently captured a male leopard strolling in the leopard preserve zone during the afternoon at 13:30 hours which gained huge traction at the social, print and electronic media.

However, the IWMB Chairperson clarified that the movement was inside the protected zone and it was not a threat to the human entering into the national park. When contacted senior IWMB member and the most experienced naturalist and ornithologist of Pakistan, Prof Dr Zahid Baig Mirza told this agency that the approaching cool weather would induce male leopards to attempt to enter female territory with full consciousness of female’s tolerance mood.

The changes in weather conditions induce male reproductive hormones activation, that impact change in its state of mind, for breeding. “It may wander even during the day time,” Dr Mirza noted.

Dr Z.B. Mirza who is an authority on biodiversity and nature claimed that a strong male used to become dominant and the weaker male was not allowed to hunt or breed in its territory. “The dominant male keeps its territory adjacent to a mature female’s territory. During her non-breeding period, she 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 other’s territories,” he concluded.

Vice President, Pakistan Wildlife Foundation, Safwan Ahmed said that the fact of Leopards being nocturnal was becoming scientifically obsolete both in the cases of African and Common Asiatic Leopards. He informed that there were two major factors, one the availability of food and hunger.

“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 morning or evening then it will keep no difference in its movement durations as the condition of hunger will force it to chase,” he added.

The second, he said human was factor that included three categories like human juvenile behaviour, shepherd attitude that considered it as his enemy number one and in-case of other humans it will try to abstain encounter at that moment.

He mentioned that the leopard was unaware that human movement had expedited after modern means of transportation and mobility. The daytime movement is not unusual now rather it is occurring in India, Pakistan and throughout the Asia and African especially in Savannah region.

We find it on National Geographic and Discovery channels’ documentaries showing leopards chasing its prey in daytime, he added. Ahmed mentioned that the propitious aspect of this development was that thriving number of leopards in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Northern Areas, and MHNP.

It was a healthy indicator whereas the male leopards spotted in camera traps were muscular and the experts were satisfied with this development, he added. The sexual behaviour highlighted by Dr Mirza had fast and aggressive movement of leopards during which they ignore human presence even, the PWF President underlined.