Pakistan Gets Its First Leopard Preservation Zone in Margalla Hills National Park

The federal government has inaugurated the country’s first ‘Common Asian Leopard Preservation Zone’ in the Margalla Hills National Park in Islamabad.

According to details, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam, inaugurated the zone that has been set up at the trail-6 in the Kalinjar area of the federal capital.

Speaking to the event’s participants, SAPM on Climate Change said that the facility will enable the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) to effectively look after the endangered animal.

Pakistan’s only Common Asian Leopard Preservation Zone will also promote wildlife tourism in the federal capital. The Margalla Hills National Park is a unique ecosystem due to its close proximity to human settlements. More than 300 species of birds, 350 plants, and 20 snakes are found in the park.

He added that trail-6 will no longer be open to the public due to the newly set up preservation area. However, IWMB will organize guided tours on the trail to enable wildlife enthusiasts to learn more about the leopard, which will also be a source of revenue for the IWMB to efficiently look after the leopards.

Addressing the occasion, Chairman IWMB, Rina Saeed, said that common Asian leopards have become permanent inhabitants of Maragalla Hills National Park. Previously, they only used to come to the park to escape the severe cold in the mountainous regions of the country.

So far, 7 common Asian leopards have been identified thanks to two dozen cameras installed at different points in the park which stretches over 17,000 hectares. Evidence suggests that there are more than 7 leopards in the park.

She added that the population of the leopards in the park increased during the Coronavirus lockdown which restricted the citizens from visiting the trails there. IWMB had first shut down trail-6 after a number of citizens spotted the leopards during the lockdown.