CHITRAL: A horde of mysterious predators attacked the animals grazing in the highland pasture of Khot valley in upper Chitral.
Eight animals, including cows, oxen and calves, were killed in the attack. The onslaught of the predators took place in the darkness of night and the villagers tending the animals in the pasture found them dead the next morning. The predators had devoured some parts of the animals’ bodies.
The villagers believed that the animals were attacked by snow leopards but the notion was disputed by an official of Snow Leopard Foundation (SLF), juxtaposing the characteristics of the wild cat with the incidence.
Khurshid Ali Shah, the coordinator of SLF in Chitral, told this scribe that it would be premature to call the predator as snow leopard before a proper inquiry was conducted while the predator was not spotted in the pastures of upper Chitral during the last decade.
He said that snow leopard, by its characteristic habit, preyed only the feeble and ailing animal and did not kill more than one at a time in an open field while it killed all the animals present in a corral in which it found itself trapped.
Mr Shah said that the imprints of the paws of the wild cat could be easily seen in a vast area of its presence while in the place of occurrence, no such marks were noted by the official of wildlife department who examined the area.
He said that the attacking predators could be wolves, which tended to remain in flocks while snow leopards always liked to be solitary in an area.–Dawn (photo by GH Farooqui)