Where is the leopard that suddenly appeared on February 16 in the residential society DHA Phase Two of Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan?
Everyone is concerned about it, but no one knows the inner story. BBC Urdu reported that it was told by several senior officials of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board that the leopard was previously housed in a cage with lions in the old Islamabad zoo but is no longer there.
However, when contacted Wildlife Management spokesperson Reena Saeed and asked if the BBC could be given access to the leopard, she replied in the negative, saying that the leopard was being released.
However, wildlife management has not yet released any details about how and where the leopard is being released.
Reena Saeed also sent a message on WhatsApp saying that she is currently out of the country.
Earlier, when Waqar Zakaria, a member of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board, was contacted and asked whether the leopard was not in its cage at that time, he said that he couldn't talk about it.
Where did this leopard come from?
It should be noted that on the 16th of February, videos of a leopard suddenly started going viral on social media; the animal can be seen jumping over the wall of a house after injuring a security guard.
After the video went viral, the Wildlife Management Board, Rescue 1122, and a few volunteers conducted a rescue operation for several hours.
The leopard, meanwhile, also slightly injured two officials involved in the rescue operation, and was subdued after crawling from the basement of one house to the basement of another.
However, the real question was, where did this leopard come from, and did someone keep it as a pet in their home?
Interestingly, after being taken into custody, the leopard was given the name "DHA," while an FIR was also registered by the Sahala police against the 'unknown owner' of the leopard.
In the case registered by the police, it was said that this leopard was kept in the house by an unknown person, and the accused endangered the lives of the citizens by keeping the dangerous animal.
The police said that the accused will be arrested soon and legal action will be taken.
The leopard was taken into custody by the Islamabad Wildlife Board after it was sedated, and Reena Saeed Khan, spokesperson for the agency, told at the time that it was not known whether it was a wild animal; we suspect it to be a domestic animal, but investigations will now be carried out in this regard.
The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board later changed its stance and said that the leopard was not a pet but came from the wild.
Reena Saeed said in a tweet a few days ago that 'experts have carefully examined the leopard, after which they have come to the conclusion that this leopard came from the forest in DHA.'
"To us, it entered DHA 2 at night from Kahota forests, which are six kilometres from the site. The forests in this area are under threat, but the good news is that it can be reforested.'
However, the Wildlife Board did not provide further details on the matter, nor did it say on what basis the experts determined that the animal was wild and not a pet.
He had also said in this regard that 'the person who was accused of keeping this leopard on social media, his and his nearby houses were examined together with the district administration, but no cage and no other evidence were found there.'
Reena Saeed Khan has also posted a map on social media in which a straight line has been drawn showing that the distance from Kahuta to Sahala is 8 to 10 km and it is a night walk for a leopard. Not much travel for a big cat.
Pet or war animal?
When the BBC spoke to an official during the operation to rescue the leopard, he said, 'It appears to be a pet.' The wildlife official said that usually, the owners do not come forward on such occasions as it is an illegal practice to keep these animals in homes.
However, Waqar Zakaria, a member of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board, said, "We have kept this leopard with us and done a complete analysis, from which we have come to know that it had come from the forest to the urban area." "It has been decided that it will be released back to its natural habitat," he added.
Waqar Zakaria said that he cannot give any details in this regard at this time. It's not the right time to reveal it right now. Details will be revealed soon.
'It is not so easy to escape from a leopard attack'
Noman Rasheed, former assistant director of the Environment Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, was asked about this claim by Wildlife, and he said, "He does not believe that the said leopard was raised in the forest."
He said, 'A leopard raised in the forest is an expert hunter. He is afraid of humans. When he sees humans, he attacks in defense.' 'When he attacks in his defence, there is extreme intensity. It is not so easy to escape from his attack like this.'
He said that 'even in this way it is not possible that the claws of the leopard hit someone and he is slightly injured.' 'Its claws and nails are dangerous. It is not as easy to escape from a speed attack as seen in the video.'
This story was originally published in BBC Urdu. Read here: https://www.bbc.com/urdu/articles/c0x950wqzvxo