Pakistan

Leopards spotted in Margalla Hills as Coronavirus clears way

Islamabad: Leopards, jackals, boar, birds and other creatures living in Islamabad’s tree-covered Margalla hills have been enjoying a rare freedom from the walking trails normally packed with hikers and joggers.

Rangers and Wildlife Management Board in the Pakistani capital’s Margalla Hills National Park saw animal activity increase many folds soon after the city was locked down in March to counter the coronavirus.

Motion-triggered wildlife cameras have been clicking the normally reclusive leopards and other wild creatures roaming onto deserted pathways.

“There is a big increase in the number of animals (seen) in the national park,” ranger Imran Khan told the international news agency AFP.

“Wildlife is comfortable as there are no visitors here. They are wandering here comfortably, which is a good sign for the jungle,” Khan said.

The park was locked down for about two months and foot traffic remains very light as daily joggers, hikers, picnickers and families stay home during the fasting period of Ramzan.

Sakhawat Ali, Islamabad’s assistant wildlife director, said the area is home to 38 mammal species, 350 bird species and 34 reptile species including 27 types of snake.

Leopard sightings a month ago also made waves on social media in Pakistan when a healthy-looking male common leopard was spotted near Islamabad’s Margalla Hills Trail No 5.

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