Himalayan lynx captured in Chuinj

CHITRAL, Feb 22: A lynx was captured and freed in the Chuinj village. The wild animal had been forced by the heavy snowfall in the high pastures to throng to the village in search of food. lynxThe conservationists heaved the sigh of relief with the breaking news as the Himalayan lynx was facing the danger of extinction in the area since the last a couple of decades, said the divisional forest officer of wildlife department Chitral. He said that the villagers in the valley had lodged a number of complaints that some mysterious wild animals broke open their cattle pens at midnight and killed their goats and sheep while in some case it also attacked the poultry. He said the youth of the area had started patrolling in the night but the cunning wild animal did not repeat its attack in the nighttime but it came to the village in one of the cloudy dusks and got trapped. He said the wild cat was confined in a room of a house and the incident was reported to the local official of the department who further informed him instantly on which he sent a joint team of wildlife department and Snow Leopard Foundation (SLF) to the area to set the animal free in its natural habitat. The villagers, he said, kept the captive in the same roof for two days and fed it chicken and mutton during the period. The research officer of SLF Khurshid Ali Shah and conservation officer Mohammad Ayub, who had gone to the snow-clad remote village, to free the wild cat said the animal was reacting furiously in the captivity. They said that they faced tremendous hardships in taking a photograph of it even when it was tied in rope as it leaped forward continuously to get itself freed and shrieked. The said that the captive lynx was freed in the high altitude pasture in the presence of hundreds of local people. “It sprang to many yards forward when the gunny bag was unfurled in the pasture and disappeared within a fraction of second time,” said Khurshid Ali Shah, adding the elusive animal did not give them an opportunity to click the button of their cameras after being released. Regarding the population of the Himalayan lynx, Mr. Khurshid said that it can not be predicted at this stage with certainty but it can be easily claimed that it is no more endangered species in this belt of Hindush range of mountains. He said that the animal is known for its slyness and indefinable nature which enables it to protect itself from the humans but they it was detected in one of the remote sensing cameras which SLF had installed in the pasture to monitor the movement of snow leopard. The lynx had a comfortable population density till 1970s after which it went to recession in the area with the deforestation and ruthless hunting of wildlife, he said. Some villagers of Lower Chitral said that in winter when the forests received snow, the wildcat descended  to the nearby pastures of the villages to seek shelter and food and sometimes it  even attacked human settlements. “The wild cat is taken as a symbol of horror in Chitral and there is hardly any folktale without carrying mention of the animal as a source of danger,” they said.-­ Zahiruddin]]>

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