A critically injured leopard rescued from Azad Jammu and Kashmir succumbed to injuries on Sunday at arehabilitation center in Islamabad, where it was under treatment.
The wildcat was rescued by the Wildlife and Fisheries Department of Kashmir on Saturday from along the rocky bank of Neelum Riverand was later shifted to Islamabad for treatment. Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IMWB) was leading the efforts to save the leopard.
“This was an act of casual killing of a beautiful wild animal that is already vulnerable to extinction,” said IMWB chairperson Rina Saeed Khan.
Initially it was suspected that the animal was hit by some vehicle or it slipped from some mountain after failing to maintain balance. But Ms. Khan shared that the X-ray revealed the animal had five to six pellets from a 12-bore shotgun inside its body. A pellet lodged in the middle of the spine reportedly caused paralysis and then death, she added.
“The animal had been dragging herself after it was paralyzed in the hind legs. Vets tried to operate to save the animal but to no avail. The animal was not hit by a car. A hunter tried to kill it in AJK,” Miss Khan lamented.
The hunter probably shot the leopard from above as she came to Neelum River to drink water.
the IWMB chairperson said that even after being badly injured, the leopard still had so much life in it. However, it could not survive the operation because of the spine damaged by pellets and one in the neck,” Ms. Khan said.
The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board said the female leopard had cubs that could be found within a 10-kilometer range.
Suspected hunter arrested
The AJK Police has arrested the suspected hunter of the leopard named Shaukat, alias Jangju. In a statement late Sunday, the regional police said a first information report (FIR) has been registered against the suspected hunters of the female common leopard.
The police also recovered the weapon – a 12 bore shotgun – used by the suspect to kill the female leopard.