PESHAWAR (APP): A documentary film of international standard featuring common leopard has been prepared with the objective of creating awareness among masses especially local communities of Galliyat about ecological importance of big cat in maintenance of strong ecosystem.
The documentary film has been prepared with joint efforts of World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF), an international non-governmental organization striving to save endangered wild species, Wildlife Department Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Walkabout Films Production Company.
“Apart from educating people about environmental importance of common leopard the objective of the documentary film was also to apprise the world community about serious efforts being made in Pakistan for conservation of top predator and its habitat,” informed Wasim Ahmad, Coordinator WWF.
The documentary film took around two years in completion and will soon be released on international channels releasing videos about wildlife, he added.
The Walkabout Films Production Company is working on global wildlife projects including Planet Earth (the award winning BBC / Discovery series) and has already prepared a documentary in Pakistan on the Snow Leopard conservation titled as `Beyond the Myth Filmed’.
Wasim said the common leopard - Panthera pardus, has been declared an endangered species under the Conservation and Assessment Management Plan (CAMP, 2004) conducted by IUCN in Pakistan.
The WWF, he went on to say, is working along with Wildlife department of KP and other departments in protection of common leopard whose largest population in Pakistan is found at Galliyat in Abbotabad district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
In September 2013, the WWF team successfully captured a male Common Leopard in the vicinity of Ayubia National Park and fitted it with a satellite (GPS) collar to get scientific information on conservation of the wild cat facing extinction.
“This was the first ever attempt of fitting radio collar to common leopard in Pakistan for carrying out advance research for conservation of animal”, he added.
WWF official said as the documentary is released from international channel its copies would be distributed among all the communities dwelling in Galliyat to help them understand the habits of common leopard.
“Human-leopard conflict in response to attack on livestock is posing serious danger to survival of wild cat in Galliyat,” Wasim explains.
Even when the predator did not find wild prey due to reduction in habitat, it starts its dependence on livestock and in some cases on human being,” he elaborated.
In the documentary an attempt was made to teach people how to behave responsibly for living along with the leopard. Communities were informed about reasons in result of which a leopard attack livestock and even human beings.
Human mistakes are highlighted in the documentary like collection of wood by women, moving in forest at late hours and running in panic after watching the animal are the factors of leopard attack.
Similarly, when the livestock is not guarded properly during grassing, it also results in attack by leopard ensuing in retaliation fire by people on the animal.
The WWF official expressed the hope that the documentary film will help a lot in conservation of big cats through enlightening people especially dwellers of Galliyat about ecological importance and behavior of big cats.