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A male
common leopard, which is a critically endangered species in Pakistan, was
killed by the residents of Thar’s Siringhwari district in a human-wildlife
conflict on Monday evening, according to the Sindh Wildlife Department.

The
animal was killed by five men after it attacked their herd of goats, Thar
wildlife officer Mir Ejaz said. “They gathered around the leopard and then
beat it with sticks and stones.”

The men
suffered multiple injuries as well. Ejaz said that the animal was killed in
self-defense.

The body
of the leopard has been sent to a laboratory in Karachi for a scientific and
genetic study. “Its body and tissue tests will be conducted to find
whether the leopard was a local species or had migrated from somewhere
else,” the wildlife officer said.

According
to Chief Wildlife Conservator Javed Mahar, for the past 10 to 15 days, the
wildlife department had been searching for signs of leopards in Sindh. “We
had received news of a sighting from Karonjhar in Nagarparkar but when our
research team went there, we didn’t find any evidence of the animal’s
presence.”

Two days
back, footprints of the same leopard were reported in Sorangwali, a village
40km from Siringhwari. But before another team was dispatched, this incident
took place, the conservator said.

Mahar
revealed that in the history of the region, no leopard has been sighted.
“There’s a possibility that the animal fled from a private zoo or
farmhouse in the area.”

To
confirm this, the DNA of the leopard will be matched with the DNAs of other
leopards across Pakistan to check if the animal is a local species.

What to
do if a wild animal comes into a human habitat

Environmentalist
and wildlife expert, Eric Shehzar, told SAMAA Digital that extreme climate and
deforestation have made living conditions difficult for leopards.

In a
region like Thar, which is barren, things get very difficult for animals as
they are exposed all the time. “When there’s no forest cover or trees,
they don’t have space to hide,” Shahzar said.

To top it
off, the rapidly declining species is also under threat from villagers who
attack the animal in a bid to protect their livestock. It’s important to
educate and include local communities in the conservation projects, the expert
pointed out.

Wildlife
officer Ejaz explained that if a leopard or any other wild animal enters a
village or a human habitat there are three things that should be done instead
of killing it:

Make loud noises or talk loudly Clap or clatterCreate a passage for the animal to return. If you gather around it, it will get overwhelmed and attack in self-defense After
these things, the residents should call the wildlife department, the officer
added.

Abdul Gh Lone

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