A news report published in this publication recently revealed that all conservation measures that are aimed at protecting the country’s big cats are falling apart. People take the law into their hands whenever a common leopard crosses their path. Whereas the law strictly prohibits the killing of wildlife, however, people lose their control if animals attack them or kill their dear ones or livestock. The high numbers of common leopards killed, i.e., 40 in a short span of 17 years show that the Wild Life Department Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and WWF-Pakistan have failed in protecting the big cats that make Pakistan’s ecology unique.
However, it is unjust to think that these two organisations should share the sole responsibility. It is a bitter reality that these departments are probably few of such departments, which receive a paltry amount from the government exchequer to perform their job. Lack of sufficient financial resources hampers the department’s performance on the one hand. Unavailability of modern technology to ensure preservation of wildlife also makes it challenging for the concerned departments on the other. State intervention is much needed. The government needs to equip the wildlife department with all that is necessary to preserve these wild animals.
People need awareness in this regard as well. All departments and organisations working for the preservation of these animals need to run awareness campaigns teaching people that venting out their anger on animals is inhumane. It is not to say that people should let go of any tragedy that results in the loss of human lives. The people need to exert pressure on government and relevant departments to not only increase the amount of compensation in case of any damage but to also build protection fences that can minimise their contact with people and their livestock. Forcing the state to take appropriate measures in this regard can stop the two-fold tragedies that result in loss of humans as well as these cats.