June 15, 2021

Leopards spotted in Pakistan capital’s park as virus clears way

Rangers in Pakistan’s Margalla Hills National Park have seen animal activity increase since a coronavirus lockdown was introduced
Rangers in Pakistan’s Margalla Hills National Park have seen animal activity increase since a coronavirus lockdown was introduced (AFP Photo/Farooq NAEEM)
Leopards, jackals and other creatures living in Islamabad’s tree-covered hills have been enjoying a rare respite from the throngs of hikers and joggers that normally pack the trails.

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

Islamabad’s normally reclusive leopards have been roaming onto deserted pathways, and social networks are rife with talk of purported sightings.

Motion-triggered wildlife cameras have been clicking away as animals explore areas they had long been nervous to visit.

“There is a big increase in the number of animals (seen) in the national park,” ranger Imran Khan — not to be confused with the namesake prime minister — told AFP.

Images the park provided to AFP include pictures of leopards padding along paths, an inquisitive jackal and a muddy boar.

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