Save the Common Leopards in Pakistan

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    Government of Pakistan
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    Friends of the Leopards in Pakistan
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July 28, 2005

To whom it may concern:

Dear Sir/Madam,

We would like to bring to your attention the recent news reports of leopard turning man-eaters in Pakistan. During the past 4-5 months there have been increasing reports of leopard-man conflict in the Galliat areas of N.W.F.P, Pakistan, with casualties on both sides. The recent killings of 6 women by leopards in the Galliat areas have brought into focus the need to implement strategies that protect both the people and their wildlife heritage. While predation on domestic livestock by leopards is common, this is the first time leopards have turned man-eaters in Pakistan. There has never been any recorded instance of leopards turning man eaters in Pakistan. Out of fear the authorities have started a shoot to kill policy, without taking into consideration the negative effect of this. So far 2 leopards thought to be man-eaters have been shot, even though laboratory tests have negated the wildlife departments claim of man-eaters. Now the provincial environment department is considering a wildlife directorate proposal to introduce leopard trophy hunting in the Galliat region, according to official sources. The wildlife department insists that since the population of common leopards in the Galliat region has doubled in the last five years, leopard trophy hunting would entail dual benefits for the local communities as it would help them earn foreign exchange as well as lower the threat posed to human life. This is totally ill-founded and unsubstantiated. There is still not a viable population of leopards in Galliat areas and it is still a protected species. Besides, there are other viable options to solving this problem instead of killing them in cold blood. Placing the common leopard on the schedule of game animals will not only aggravate the problem but will expose the animals to the threat of illegal hunting. We urge the Government of Pakistan, NWFP Wildlife Department, the affected local communities and other stakeholders to come up with a solution that not only protects these beautiful cats but also respects the right of people to survive. We have already lost the Lion, Tiger and the Cheetah from Pakistan. Please make sure this symbol of the Galliat forests of Pakistan doesn't follow in their footsteps.