Islamabad Police register case in leopard escape case

Web Desk
A screengrab taken from a video showing the leopard that had been roaming around a housing society in Islamabad on February 16, 2023. — Twitter/@freakonomist5
A screengrab taken from a video showing the leopard that had been roaming around a housing society in Islamabad on February 16, 2023. — Twitter/@freakonomist5

  • Case registered under PPC Sections 324, 289. 
  • Lives of citizens were endangered: police. 
  • Search for unknown suspect is underway.

The Islamabad Police said Friday it had registered a case against an unknown suspect for keeping a leopard as a pet after it attacked residents of a private housing society in the federal capital. 

The leopard, which was on the loose a day earlier, attacked several people. It was later contained by the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB). 

The case was registered at the Sahala Police Station under sections 324 (attempt to commit qatl-i-amd) and 289 (negligent conduct with respect to animal) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

"The suspect endangered the lives of citizens by keeping dangerous animals," the Islamabad police shared on Twitter.

The law enforcement agency added that a search for the suspect is underway and legal action will be taken after arresting them.

The news that a leopard was roaming around Islamabad and attacking people spread quickly Thursday evening with several people sharing images and videos that went viral on social media.

In videos posted to social media of the six-hour jaunt, the young male cat could be seen slipping between cars before knocking down a man and leaping over a garden fence.

After a cat and mouse game that had lasted several hours, the IWMB captured the wildcat and took it to the city's former zoo that was shut down in 2020 over its treatment of animals.

The creature, aged between two and three years old, is now in the company of a brown bear, a tiger, and several monkeys — rescued by wildlife authorities in recent months.

In an update today on the whole saga, the IWMB identified the leopard as male and said he was "in good health" at the IWMB's rescue and rehab centre. "[The] IWMB scientific committee will decide next steps for leopard rehabilitation. Leopard has been named Deeaitchay by IWMB staff," the update stated on Twitter.

Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman, meanwhile, also gave an update on the leopard, urging for an end to private zoos.

She tweeted a video of the wildcat and said he is "alive and well".

"It’s 6-hour capture op injured one of our wildlife staff quite badly. Costs to the community and the animal could have been much higher," she tweeted.

She later said that the administration is still trying to investigate where the leopard came from exactly. "Initial views still suggest a pvt property, but not confirmed," she added. 

Earlier, addressing the number of attacks the animal had made on residents, the police had said news of the leopard had brought a lot of people out of their homes and the leopard was attacking one person after the other.

As efforts to contain the leopard progressed, the anti-terrorism police officers were compelled to open fire, as an official of the wildlife department was attacked.

The police had also confirmed that a female wildlife officer had been attacked by the leopard. "She only survived because she was wearing a protective jacket," they said, adding that the animal then entered a nearby house, where it was trapped in the basement.

A total of three wildlife officials had been injured in the endeavour to contain the leopard by setting up traps, but it had managed to escape by breaking the net twice.

The wildlife management board had instructed residents to stay away from the places where the leopard was present.

Pakistan last year banned the import of exotic mammals after large numbers were brought in or bred in recent years, causing problems for wildlife officials.

Big cats are seen as symbols of wealth and power in the country.

Islamabad is bordered by the Margalla Hills where a preservation zone has been set up to protect wild leopards in the area.