Data on lynx population in Chitral not available

CHITRAL, Dec 11: The Himalayan lynx, which is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, is believed to have a sizable population in Chitral but there is no exact data about it. No survey has been conducted ever in the district to know the numbers of the Himalayan lynx. Biodiversity specialist working with a government organisation Mr Ahmad told this correspondent on Tuesday that the wildlife department had reported the seeing of 16 Himalayan lynx in the district over the last four years, while WWF put the number at 164. He said the wild cat mainly lived in Tooshi Game Reserve, Koughazi Gol, Istang Gol, Kuju Gol, Garam Chashma and Mulen Gol, where they attacked animals grazing there. Mr Ahmed said the people raised goats in large numbers for sustenance but they were attacked by lynx. He said the folklores of Chitral were replete with the description of lynx showing its thick population in the area in the past. “They used to describe lynx as a creature, which takes away children,” he said. The biodiversity specialist said the flesh and blood of goats was the preferred food of lynx. He said the wildcat sucked blood of its catch and buried its flesh before eating it for many days. “Lynx is a solitary animal by nature, which prefers shrub lands, pastures, broken rocks and meadows. It has frequently spotted at dawn and dusk indicating its nocturnal behaviour,” he said. Mr Ahmed said the Himalayan lynx had been quite extinct in the area for the last couple of decades and the locals had almost forgotten the species in the higher altitudes pastures of Chitral as no one reported spotting the cat species. He demanded that the wildlife department do a survey to know the number of lynx in the district before conserving it.–Dawn]]>

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