ISLAMABAD-People living in villages around Margalla Hills National Park are disturbing wildlife habitats posing threat to their natural occupation, said Islamabad Wildlife Management Board Assistant Director Sakhawat Ali.

He said that the wildlife including wild boars and leopards existing in the Park had been facing serious habitat problems. He said that boars mostly lived in specific areas where females among piglets used to leave such area in search of food. However, dumpster placed on the sides of the federal capital roads had been a very good source of food for the wild boars but the boars are migrating to Ayubia and some other parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa due to human and wildlife conflicts.

“Their migration to Ayubia is a good sign as boars will survive as they are mostly prey for leopards, however, KP will be a different situation for the boars as the environment is not suitable there,” he added.

Sakhawat said: “Wild boars had been in abundance across the subcontinent where anthropogenic activities reduced them to certain limited habitats. Long time ago there had been Asian Lion reported to be existing in MHNP where hunting pressure resulted in its extinction. It now exists only in India and might have migrated due to unfavourable conditions,” he added.

To a question, he said that wild boars are omnivores and feed on everything, adding, “In MHNP, they eat the calves of barking deer, chicks and eggs of pheasants in the park.”

The park, he said, was the last habitat for indigenous flora and fauna of Himalayan foothills. Moreover, people in around 25 villages with a significant population are living at the outskirts of the park with over a hundred thousand domestic animals.

The increasing population pressures, cutting of trees for fuel wood, hunting of wild goats and jungle fowl and grazing of domestic animals may lead to human animal conflicts,” he said, adding a research by an IWMB official was underway to ascertain the prevailing scenarios.