With human under lockdown, nature is running free and wildlife is coming out of hiding to explore the empty spaces once swarmed with humans.
According to the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB), a male leopard was caught on a camera trap near the hiking trails of Margalla Hills National Park. While leopards are occasionally caught on camera, this is the first time a larger male leopard was spotted on the hills. The IWMB added that the latest discovery could mean that there are three families of the common leopard hiding in the national park. Popularly referred to as the Margalla Leopards, these animals are an endangered species.
The board also shared that not just leopards but wild animals including fox, martins, porcupines, barking deer, jackals and wild boars among others have also descended from the hills. They have also been caught by the camera traps laid out by the wildlife board.
Various species of birds including pheasants have also been spotted on the grounds.
Meanwhile, it has also been reported that dozens of monkeys living in the Margalla Hills National Park have descended on to the residential areas of the city in search of food.
IWMB Assistant Director Sakhawat Ali said that residents of sectors F-6 and F-7 have filed complaints about the monkeys entering their homes. Some videos posted online showed the simians scurrying about the streets of the city or climbing over rooftops.
“It is not a good practice [to feed animals when you go hiking on the MHNP trails or other hilly areas] as human-fed food item will have bad impacts on their health,” Ali said, adding that monkeys have lived in the national park since before humans inhabited this region.
Ali, however, noted that the monkeys were not hostile to human beings and only attack or become violent when someone tries to hurt them.
He advised the public to stay calm if they encountering any monkey. Moreover, he suggested that people keep their food items secure in their stores and not offer animals anything.
Ali also advised people to take care of their clothes and the laundry hung out to dry.
“Monkeys have a habit to take away clothes left outside a house if they find nothing in their search of food,” the IWMB officer warned.