Islamabad Wildlife Management Board Restarts Guided Tours of Leopard Zone

The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWB) has resumed its guided tours of the Leopard Preserve Zone in the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP).

The zone is on Trail-6 in the village of Kalinjar, and interested individuals (minimum of two) can register for the tour by contacting Park Ranger, Ahmar Riaz, at 0333-9038132, as per a tweet by the Chairperson of the IWMB, Rina Saeed Khan Satti.

The guided tour takes place twice a day, depending on the weather conditions. The first tour is from 10 AM to 12 PM, and the second tour is from 4:30 PM to 6 PM. The tourists have to pay an amount of Rs. 1,000 as the contributory fund that will be used for purchasing camera traps.

Prior to the guided tour, the registered tourists are to meet the IMWB management at the Visitor Information Center behind Faisal Mosque.

The IMWB explained that the tour involves walking or hiking around two km into the zone. The guide will brief the tourists about the leopards’ behaviors, territory, and biodiversity. They will also be shown a documentary about the zone.

The IMWB states that this tour is intended only for people who want to learn about leopards and observe their habitats. The board also specified that it will not entertain regular hikers or trekkers to ensure minimal disturbance during the tour.

As announced earlier, the terms and conditions for the tour are:

  • Only 15 registered individuals are allowed per day.
  • Daily tours are subject to weather conditions.
  • Only advance registrations are allowed.
  • CNICs or passport numbers are mandatory for registrations.
  • No entry for children under the age of six.

The Leopard Preserve Zone

As the population of leopards increased in the area (observed in a trap camera study), the federal government declared the region a ‘Leopard Preserve Zone’ on 2 January 2022 in a bid to preserve the local biodiversity, especially the leopards that are endangered species.

Approximately four to five leopards inhabit the MHNP and at least one pair lives inside the zone.

Origin of Leopards in the MHNP

About 10 years ago, a snowy winter had made food scarce for the wildlife in Ayubia National Park and Nathia Gali. Resultantly, mammals like leopards were forced to foray into the MHNP, which gradually increased their population in the area.

The people of Kalinjar spotted the first-ever leopard in the area four years ago, which prompted the IWMB’s scientific committee to conduct a trap camera study to capture a leopard’s movement in 2021.

  • Its good to see, and good managed by MHNP administration. I like wildlife stories. It also increase the beauty of Islamabad.

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