Study Report on Survey of HumanLeopard Conflict in Machiara National Park, Azad Kashmir, Pakistan.


BY QAMAR ZAMAN AND NAEEM IFTIKHAR DAR Wildlife and Fisheries Department, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan


Table of contents


Topic Summary Introduction to human-wildlife conflict Human-wildlife conflict in world Human-leopard conflict in world Status and distribution of common leopard in Pakistan Status and distribution of common leopard in AJK

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Summary Protected areas management project (PAMP) Machiara National park has been working for the conservation of Biodiversity with an active participation of local community through the provision of alternate to timber and fuel wood. The concept of community participation in the development projects emerged in 1950s and become very popular since that time. Same is the history of community participation in the conservation and management of natural resources in protected areas. The history of protected areas management shows that the communities living in and around the PAs are always in conflicts with the management organizations firstly due to dependence on the natural resources of protected areas, as they solely depends on natural resources for their daily subsistence and secondly, they also remain in conflict with the large carnivores like Leopard and bears as they attack on their livestock and crops which are the chief sources of their traditional rural economy. Increasing human population resulted into encroachments on the wildlife habitats. This encroachment often resulted into shrinking of wildlife habitats hence conflict arises from both; local inhabitants and wildlife species. In this conflict the large carnivores often suffered much as the need wide home range for their subsistence. The common leopard which is much bold among all of the carnivore beasts, with the resultant habitat loss they occasionally entered the nearby villages at night without being detected and prey upon domestic dogs and other livestock due to which it is ruthlessly persecuted in revenge by the villagers. Human-leopard conflict due to predation on livestock, as like in other parts in the world is very common inside and around the Machiara national park. For understanding and mitigation of this conflict and to improve the conservation of this species this study was conducted. Recommendations on the findings of this study will be helpful for the future conservation activities.


World Parks Congress in 2003 has been defined Human-wildlife conflict as ‘When the needs and behavior of wildlife impact negatively on the goals of humans or when the goals of humans negatively impact the need of wild life”.

1. Human-wildlife conflict in the world
Human-wildlife conflict is very common global phenomenon in rural areas and also has become common on the urban human settlement’s peripheries in both developing as well as developed countries. The conflict is not limited to large carnivore’s species, but human-wildlife conflict involves with a variety of mammals, birds, fish, insects, and reptiles. Despite the multiplicity of situations and species that become the cause of such conflict; the thoughts and actions of humans ultimately determine the track and decree of this conflict. In whole world damage to crops, orchards, livestock, other property and people themselves generally lead to conflicts between carnivores and humans as particular. Space and natural resources is one of the most serious factors threatening biodiversity. Large mammals are particularly susceptible to human activities because they often require wide ranges, which bring them into closer contact and, consequently, conflict with humans. Competition for space, resources at different levels, fear as a threat to local people, and trade of body parts of animals are most common reasons behind this conflict .These conflicts are usually greatest in areas that are close to forest edges or protected areas edges, or the areas that provide adequate cover for the carnivore to approach livestock undetected. These conflicts become severe controversial as these remote natural resources have economic value for the inhabitant of remote areas and on the other hand carnivores are high in profile or often legally protected by law through the respective Governments in the world. Long humanitarian history reveals that humans and carnivores have co-existed since incent time, but the severe frequency of conflicts has increased in recent decades as a result of increased anthropogenic activities in wildlife areas or on natural. People in the remote areas as they are deprived of modern facilities, solely depend on the natural resources for their subsistence, generally get rid of these kinds of unusual conflicts by killing the challenging animals through capturing with a trap, poisoning with meat or shooting with fire arms. Revenge killings of elephant across Africa and Asia is another example of Human-elephant conflict in the form of crop raiding which is a major threat to local livelihoods through loss of income and a threat to elephants population also. Similarly human-bear conflict in the form of crop raiding is the universal challenge for the conservationist in Himalayan region, where it becomes vulnerable beast due to ruthless killing in revenge. Large carnivores, on the other hand, frequently come into conflict with humans through livestock attacks. A conflict between large carnivores and

humans is a global issue and a high priority for conservationist because many carnivore species, such as wolves and bears in Asia, North America and Europe; pumas and jaguars in South America, lion in Africa and tigers and leopards in south Asia, are on the verge of extinction due to this conflict. Pakistan as a world major agrarian country facing the emerging challenge of rodentshuman conflict, as they destroy the crops in central and southern plans of country, causing a huge economic loss to the formers. This is the era of human-domination as the human population so alarmingly increasing that every ecosystem on the Earth’s surface has now been influenced by human activities. Increasing demand of space for settlement, changing land use for increasing demand of crops and utilization of natural habitats imposing negative impact on world’s remaining biodiversity. The immeasurable intact eco-zones have become increasingly restricted to small, fragmented patches within a matrix of human-dominated. This intensifies the interactions and the potential conflicts between conservation and development as the human populations concerned comprise some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people in terms of food security, health, education, infrastructure and social institutions, as well as often being exposed to violent conflicts over natural resources. The expansion of human influence into even the remotest corners of the globe, and ever-increasing pressure on remaining natural resources has greatly increased the issue of human-wildlife conflict. Influential factors include increasing human populations, loss of natural habitat, and, in some regions, growing wildlife populations resulting from successful conservation programs.

2. Human-leopard conflict
Leopard in its home range considered as top predators and play indispensable roles in the long term maintenance of diversity. As a result, leopard populations are of central concern to conservation biologists for the maintenance of natural ecosystems. In this context, human–leopard conflicts pose an urgent challenge to leopard conservation, especially in recent deforestation areas where the requirements of leopard populations are often at probability with those of human activities. The large home ranges of Leopards often resulted into competition with humans, particularly in areas associated with extensive livestock management in its home range. As the leopard is specialized predator on wild and domesticated small ungulate and due to anthropogenic activities sometimes condition of his natural prey deprivation arises than leopard seeks and readily kills large livestock which is result of this conflict. Common leopard has ability to adapt to changed anthropogenic landscapes. Livestock rearing is an integral part of the local pastoral and agricultural economy of the most developing countries, and grazing of substantial herds is widespread in, or adjacent to, protected areas and forests. Leopard often attack livestock that are grazed in, or close to, forest areas, and sometimes even into settlements to take livestock, as well as posing risks to humans. Such damage to local livelihoods angers farmers who may resort to retribution. The high economic value

intensifies the level of anger toward predators and fuels feelings for retribution among the affected herders. Predation upon livestock by leopard became un tolerate able during the surplus killing, where leopard kill multiple animals in one attack, can result in severe financial hardship to the herder’s which create intense aggression towards leopard. The impact of such losses can also be exacerbated further if the stock concerned is particularly valuable. Moreover, they are largebodied, potentially aggressive and can sometimes kill humans themselves, which generates powerful antagonism towards their presence around human habitation. These factors are often compounded by an innate fear of large predators and deep-seated hostility resulting from past experiences, even if carnivores are not causing current problems.

Distribution and conservation status of leopards in the world

The common leopard once occurred from the British Isles to Japan and all over the Asian and African continent. It was one of the most wide ranging felids. In Africa, it occupies both rainforest and arid desert habitats. In Southwest and Central Asia, leopards are now mainly confined to the more remote mountain and foothill areas. The leopard still survives in the areas, where other big cats, such as lions and tigers, have been exterminated. This is because the common leopard is highly adaptable and has a less specialize diet than other large felids. They can be found from rainforest to arid savannahs, grasslands, mountain temperate forest and close proximity of urban areas; simply they can live everywhere subject to the availability of prey species and some cover to hide. Thus, the leopard is more resistant to human pressures on space and resources than other large carnivores and they can easily adopt themselves in variety of habitat. However, through habitat loss, natural prey base depletion and direct human persecution the leopard has been eradicated from vast areas of its former range. Due to their wide geographic range, it has been previously recognized as common species and attained low conservation priority. However, in reality leopards may be common in Africa, where in some countries its trophy hunting is also legal and permitted under official quotas. While, eight sub-species of leopard are listed as threatened by the IUCN Red List, they are either ‘endangered’ or ‘critically endangered’. The main hindrance in leopard conservation is of course the local people living around the reserve areas/forest areas where they live and the most common form of conflict is livestock attacks by leopards. The leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) is poached for its skin in Sri-lanka, where very few individuals (400-600) are left. Similarly the Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) has been reduced to only 33 adults (Santiapillai and Jayewardene, 2004), while the maximum number of Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor) is estimated up to 1300. Hence, in many range states, the leopard is in severe danger of extinction and large-scale conservation interventions are required for their survival. This is especially so in Pakistan where leopards still survive, but where other large felids have been extirpated.

4. Status and Conservation of leopard in Pakistan

Pakistan has two large felids, the common leopard (Panthera pardus) and snow leopard (Uncia uncia). However, historically Pakistan was also one of the range countries of other large felids including the tiger (Panthera tigris), Asiatic Lion (Panthera leo) and Persian cheetah (Acinonyx Jubatus). The snow leopard is mainly restricted to high altitude dry, temperate mountains ranges (1500-5200m asl) in the northern parts of Pakistan and it is rarely descends below the tree line. In contrast, the common leopard is found at comparatively low altitudes in the Himalayan moist temperate forest to scrub forest in Sindh, Balochistan and Waziristan. Previously in Pakistan, common and snow leopard were hunted for their pelt. After joining CITES in 1978, Pakistan banned the export of wildlife pelts in compliance to CITES. The leopard has been reported in Pakistan from Himalayan moist temperate forest up to Karthar hills in Sindh Province and the hilly range of Kalat and Makran in Balochistan Province. However, only in the Galliat areas in Khyber Pakhton Khah (KPK) and the districts of Neelum, Muzaffarabad and Bagh of Azad Kashmir are substantial numbers of leopards still surviving, perhaps because of the successful large scale forest regeneration projects that have been implemented in these areas over the past 40 years (Iftikhar, 2006). These areas are also densely inhabited by humans who generally practice an agro-pastoral lifestyle, livestock attacks by leopards is a critical human-wildlife conflict issue in the area. Although the leopard is protected by national law, they are still killed in retribution by those who have lost livestock to leopards and this is a considered to be a major problem for leopard conservation. In Pakistan, the first incident of a man-eating leopard was recorded in June 2005, when a leopard killed six women in Galliat region and eight leopards were shot dead by villagers in retribution (Ahmed, 2006). Whilst leopard attacks on humans is uncommon, the problem with leopard attacks on livestock is not and local villagers have become use to this conflict and developed certain precautionary measure to minimize the risk, such as effective nocturnal livestock management and herding during daytime.

5. Status and Conservation of leopard in Azad Kashmir
The leopards along with other carnivore species are widely distributed across the Azad Jammu and Kashmir from Kotli in south to Neelum in north, and have been heavily persecuted, partly because of increasing levels of conflict with rural communities. This issue has attained the status of national priority because it is the major threat to the conservation of large carnivore species and the government is under intense pressure from rural communities who are frequently complaining and demanding compensation for their livestock losses to leopards, as well as other carnivore species (Dar et al., 2009). Thus keeping in view the importance of the issue in question, the present study was organized on the human- leopard conflict in MNP (Machiara National Park) District Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir with the following objectives:

To assess the extent the livestock depredation by leopard in MNP To record the number of leopard killed by community and also record the human injuries and death by leopard


• •

To find out direct or indirect economic loss of community by leopard To propose strategy/recommendations for minimizing these losses

6. Methodology
Questionnaire Survey The study area focused on all 30 villages within three union councils, including Bhari, Machiara and Sarlisacha. Questionnaire Survey forms were design and tailored in the field through MNP field staff. The field staff collects data on prescribed Questionnaire forms through unstructured interviews, participatory observation and focus group discussions and quantitative methods (structured interviews). The structured interviews forms were the main data source. Interviews were conducted by AJK Wildlife & Fisheries Department staff over two weeks, from 10 to 26 June 2011. Unstructured interviews and the participatory observations were complied during one day workshop at breeding center pattika on 29th of June 2011 with employees of wildlife departments who had also experienced conflict with leopards. The main aims of the questionnaire surveys were to explore the different aspects of human-leopard conflict patterns and the perceptions and attitudes of local people towards leopards.


7. Results
7.1 Daily patterns of leopard attacks This study shows that majority (42%) of leopard attacks on livestock occurred during early day time followed by attacks (35%) in the evening. Leopard attacks did not recorded during the early morning, least (7%) attacks were recorded during afternoon, (16%) attacks were recorded during night times in the absence of ineffective surveillance. These results shows that the communities residing in and around MNP are improving their watch and ward system

Fig, 1.Daily patterns of leopard attacks on livestock in MNP during 2010-11

7.2 Seasonal patterns of leopard attacks From the 71 attacks on livestock and dogs by leopards, the majority of attack occurred during the spring and early summer followed by autumn (28%, 24% and 17% respectively, Figure 4.4). These results show the natural prey scarcity of leopard in the area.


Fig, 2.Seasonal patterns of leopard attacks

7.3 Type of livestock killed Goats, cows, sheep, and dogs were seems to be the easy and common prey of leopard in these areas during 2010. Predation rate of various livestock included, Cows (7%, n=8) dogs (6%, n=7) Goat (80%, n=97) Sheep (9%, n=11). Depredation rate of goats was high (n =97) followed by sheep (n=11). Goat was the common prey of leopard in these areas (Fig 3.2).

Fig, 3.Type and percentage of livestock killed by leopard during 2010-11

Table.1. Livestock depredation in different villages of study area during 2010
Name of Union Council Machiara Name of Villages/area Tarian Goat 3 Cows 0 Type of Livestock killed Sheep Dogs 0 0 Donkey 0 Total 3





Dangri Mohri Bagnari Mali Thora Domalan Gali area Dulyarh Ban area Sokar area Banda area Shakhori Musian Khori area Galikhater Bysri area Kai Kilpar Kunda Ranja Sarlisacha Dara Kholi Danna Bagajath

3 1 3 3 1 2 1 2 9 8 6 5 3 6 10 11 5 0 0 2 0 4 2 2 4 97

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8

1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 11

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 7

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

4 1 3 3 1 2 1 4 10 8 7 9 7 7 10 11 10 2 1 2 1 7 2 2 4 122

7.4 Year round intensity of attack Of the 71 incidents, the majority (20%) took place during April, (18%) in June followed by May (14%). July seem to be most suitable time for leopard to prey on wild animal other than livestock. Spring, early summer and late autumn seem to be the period of wild prey scarcity in the area.

Fig.4 Month wise intensity of attack

7.5 Economic implications of leopard attacks on livestock Overall, loss of livestock to leopard was higher than to any other predator in the area surrounding MNP and had a substantial impact on the economy of the low-income villagers. The total economic loss of 97 goats (582000, n=97@6000/head),cows (200000,n=8


@25000/head),sheep(55000, n=11@5000/head) and dogs(56000, n=7@8000/head) from January 2009 to December 2010.The sum of total loss was estimated as 893000pk Rupees.
7. Discussion

The human -leopard conflict was found to be an acute problem in MNP, where people keep a large number of livestock for their daily subsistence. The results suggest that the conflict was found to be more severe in high pastures, inside and at the edges of forest; similarly frequency of attacks was relatively high at early day and late afternoon as the leopard ambush on livestock traveling for foraging during late morning and retreating to the pens during dusk and as well as during summer season, whenever the herder became careless from surveillance measures. Dog seem to the most effective tool to decrease the economic loss of villagers. Intensity of predation during night and day time seems to be reduced due to surveillance measures taken by villagers. Results show that goats and sheep were most vulnerable to leopard attacks. It is believed that people and leopards can coexist in MNP, but for this coexistence the human-leopard conflict must be resolve. The strategies that should be implemented in attempt to lower livestock loss to leopards should include enhanced guarding, construction of predators-proof pens and grazing the livestock in areas that are further from MNP, where most conflict was identified as occurring. The results of the study show that the leopards are comparatively more selective towards goats’ predation in MNP. Goats make ideal leopard prey firstly, animals often prefer to brows shrubs which is abundant as understory cover in MNP. This thick cover of shrub is also used for protective cover by leopard and secondly because these smaller animal can be quickly dragged to a safe place after being killed. 8. Recommendations During the one day workshop with the field staff of wildlife and fisheries department following consensus on leopard conservation were developed •

Every attempt should be made to conserve the Common leopard as the flagship species in MNP. Number of watching dogs should be increased in and around the MNP. Every house hold should be encouraged to keep the Ladakhi dog for effective watch and ward mechanism. Wildlife insurance scheme should be introduced in the area to compensate the villager losses. Awareness campaign about the biological role of leopard and possible protective measures should be launch in electronic and print media as well in the communities to reduce the losses from leopard. Communities should be enhanced to improve their local breeds due to which quantity of livestock may be reduced and quality will be improved. Reduced quantity of


livestock will impose the positive effects on habitat rehabilitation in the park, which ultimately enhance the number of wild prey for leopard. • Stall feeding should be encouraged.

Figure 1Group discussion for data collection


Figure 2 During field data collection exercise


Figure 3 Leopard killed in Machiara National Park AJK


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