Living with leopards in Northern Pakistan

06 August 2008 | News story

  An innovative scheme encouraging local communities to live peacefully with leopards has reached a new milestone by extending its range to three new communities in Northern Pakistan.

Since June 2005, there have been 13 Leopard (Panthera pardus) killed in the Abbottabat district of Pakistan, after a rogue animal tragically attacked and killed a reported 6 people. Before then, predation on livestock had been the main cause of retaliation towards leopards, which escalated dramatically after the fatal attacks.

The aim of the project is to find a mutually beneficial solution to the human-leopard conflict. It is supported by IUCN's small grants programme the Sir Peter Scott Fund. The community-based ‘livestock insurance scheme’ was created to reduce the economic losses to farmers when their animals are killed by leopards. The funds are managed and administered by the local community themselves, and has proven to be very successful.

“This scheme provides a tangible incentive to local communities to support conservation and find ways to live in harmony with leopards,” says Muhammad Waseem, Research Officer for the project.

Launched back in March 2006, membership of the scheme has steadily grown ever since. There is now government interest in bringing the initiative to new areas of Pakistan. Three new Abbottabat communities - Bako, Lahur Kus and Thandiani - have approached the project and are in the process of being included into the scheme.

For more information about this project contact: Muhammad Waseem, Research Officer, ‘Leopard Conservation in Pakistan’ at mwaseemwwf@gmail.com