Snow Leopards of Pakistan

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mikhurram
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Snow Leopards of Pakistan

Post by mikhurram » October 8th, 2013, 8:41 pm

In 2006, a Snow Leopard cub was found in the wild by a Goatherd in Chitral. The mother and siblings of the cub had been killed by poachers. The cub named Leo was shifted promptly to the Bronx Zoo in New York City as Pakistan lacked the facilities for proper care of Snow Leopards. Some of us may not be aware that the Hindukush mountain range in northern regions of Pakistan upwards from Chitral Valley encompassing regions of Tibet and Mongolia is home to Snow Leopards which are rapidly becoming extinct.

This wasn't the first time that the plight of Snow leopards appeared in the international media. The first photo shots of Snow Leopards in the wild were captured by Dr. George Schaller in Chitral Valley almost 41 years. Here's the text of the article which appeared in Nov 1971 edition. I felt that this article was worth publishing as it also makes us aware of Markhors (the national animal of Pakistan) which are also an endangered specie.

Imperiled Phantom of Asian Peaks
by George Schaller.
National Geographic Magazine November 1971

Suddenly i saw the snow leopard. Wisps of cloud moved between us, and she become a ghost creature, appearing and disappearing as if in a rugged dream. were 120 feet apart on a rugged Pakistani cliff, neither of us moving-two being bound to each other in a world of swirling snow. Thus, last December (1970), i glimpsed one of the rarest and least known of the world's greatest cats.

I had travelled to Chitral district of Nothern West Pakistan to survey it's wildlife - in particular the kashmir Markhor, a rare wild goat. My associate Zahid Beg Mirza of Punjab University, and i also hoped to advise His Highness the Mehtar of Chitral, who was turning his preserve into a sanctuary.

One day i saw leopard tracks in the snow at 11,000 feet. Determined the meet the elusive Panthera Uncia, i began daily quests for fresh paw prints and "calling cards'-urine-splashed rocks or patches of gouged earth.

To entice the leopards i used live goats, but for two weeks the Cats spurned my offerings. Then one morning the wheeling of vultures overhead told me that a goat had been killed. Near the carcass i spied a female leopard on the crest of a spur. She stayed around for a week consuming that goat and several more- and giving me the opportunity to makes these unique photographs.

Image

Image
Camouflaged bheind a rocky parapet, the snow leopard (right) surveys her domain. The cats feed on musk deer, hares, wild sheep, and the Kashmir Markhor (below). In winter, Markhars drops to lower slopes, where forage is more plentiful. There they climb evergreen oaks, teetering along their branches to browse on leathery leaves. The Snow Leopards also descends from the heights in search of prey. In the valleys, the cats find domestic animals an easy mark. here, too, they confront their only serious enemy-man.

Image
The first photo of Snow Leopard captured by Dr. George Schaller.

UMARKHANMARDAN
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Re: Snow Leopards of Pakistan

Post by UMARKHANMARDAN » October 8th, 2013, 11:14 pm

i love this cat.Its very rear species only found in this range.Unfortunately we are loosing our wild life.Black buck, Snow Leopard, Marcopolo sheep, Kleej, Alexandrine parakeets even the Indian ring neck parakeet is becoming rear day by day.We are loosing it & also our jungles are shrinking day by day.

ka_khan
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Re: Snow Leopards of Pakistan

Post by ka_khan » October 8th, 2013, 11:35 pm

Thanks for sharing it mikhurram.We are fastly loosing our treasures.Estimates say there are only 3500 to 6000 are left in the wild while 800 are in the zoos world wide.

Mustansir Billah
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Re: Snow Leopards of Pakistan

Post by Mustansir Billah » October 9th, 2013, 8:26 am

Ah One of my favourite animal. Yes! Illegal Hunting is also a big fact that these species are decreasing day by day.

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