At least 7 Leopards spotted in Margalla Hills, Leopard Preservation Zone established in Margalla Hills

The first and only Asian Leopard Preservation Zone has been established in Islamabad’s beautiful Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP) to conserve and maintain a number of Asian leopards lately spotted along the Margalla Hills’ Trail-6.

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The establishment of the leopard preservation zone follows Prime Minister Imran Khan’s directives from last October, when he chaired a meeting of the Ministry of Climate Change and directed the establishment of a leopard preservation zone in the Margalla Hills to ensure the endangered species’ natural habitat.

Malik Amin Aslam, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) for Climate Change, officially opened the zone. Chairperson of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) Rina Saeed Khan and members of the board were also present.

The conservation site, will help safeguard the highly endangered wildcat while also promoting wildlife tourism in one of the few ecosystems adjacent to a human town, according to Amin Aslam

“The MHNP is home to a diverse range of plant, bird, and animal species.”

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Why is this area selected for the purpose?

The specific leopard zone will create a healthy eco-system for the predators that would be continuously occupying the hills, she added, noting that the MHNP contains 300 bird, 350 plant, and 20 snake species, making it a biodiversity-rich habitat.

Rina Saeed, speaking at the event, said leopards were still severely endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s wildlife species listing (IUCN).

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Margalla Hills National Park has welcomed them as permanent residents. It was once utilized by the animal to descend from the upper peaks in the winter.

We undertook a thorough scientific camera trap study and installed 20 of them throughout the national park’s 17,000 acres, she said, adding that at least seven leopards had been captured by the camera so far, and there were likely more. “Currently, two males and a female live in the Kalinjar region of Trail-6,” she stated.

“Though the leopard is a nocturnal species that will not be visible during the day, teens and children will learn more about its movement and habitat through this wildlife tourism effort,” she said.

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After the first leopard was spotted, the Trail-6 was closed to the public, and throughout the COVID-19 lockdown, its biodiversity flourished, increasing the animal’s population.

The announcement of the establishment of a leopard protection zone has gone viral, with netizens hailing it as yet another environmentally beneficial move by Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government.

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