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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Killing of Endangered Leopard in Balochistan Sparks Outcry

The tragic killing of a rare leopard in Balochistan sparks public outcry and highlights ongoing challenges in wildlife conservation and protection efforts in Pakistan.

In a disturbing incident that has shocked wildlife enthusiasts and conservationists alike, residents of Sui in Dera Bugti, Balochistan, were captured on video extracting and posing with the lifeless body of an endangered leopard. The incident, which surfaced on Monday through widely circulated social media footage, depicts armed individuals taking the leopard’s body out of a cave and displaying it in the open. Shockingly, the leopard had been shot multiple times, as evident from the videos that also captured the men posing proudly with the deceased animal.

Authorities in Dera Bugti swiftly responded by filing a First Information Report (FIR) against those involved, initiating an investigation into the killing. The tragic incident underscores a broader issue of wildlife conservation and the enforcement of wildlife protection laws in Pakistan.

Previous Incidents and Conservation Concerns

This recent killing follows another distressing event reported in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), where leopard cubs were allegedly shot dead. Images of the lifeless cubs circulated on social media. The Pakistan Wildlife Department has categorically stated that the common leopard is a protected species under all provincial laws, making hunting and killing illegal across the country.

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Leopards, primarily found in northern Pakistan with occasional sightings in parts of Balochistan, face multiple threats to their survival. Deforestation, driven by logging and the illegal wildlife trade for pelts, remains a significant challenge. Moreover, human-wildlife conflict is exacerbated by encroachments into leopard habitats, often leading to fatal encounters such as the recent killings in Dera Bugti and AJK.

Conservationists emphasize the urgent need for heightened awareness among local communities about the critical status of leopards and other endangered species. They advocate for stringent enforcement of wildlife protection laws to prevent such tragic incidents and safeguard Pakistan’s rich biodiversity.

The brutal killing of the leopard in Dera Bugti highlights the ongoing threats faced by wildlife in Pakistan, despite legal protections in place. It serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for community engagement, education, and robust law enforcement to ensure the preservation of endangered species. As authorities pursue justice for these senseless killings, conservationists continue their efforts to promote coexistence between humans and wildlife, striving for a future where such incidents are averted through sustainable conservation practices.