Escaped pet leopard runs amok in Pakistan’s Islamabad

A pet leopard escaped from a house in the Pakistan capital and roamed the streets for hours before being shot with a sedation dart, wildlife officials said Friday.

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

“According to our initial investigation, it is a pet animal and not wild at all, but he is scared and is constantly roaring,” Tariq Bangash, director of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board, told AFP.

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.

The leopard on the loose in Islamabad lightly injured four people before it was captured by officials, who 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.

“We have information that several people in Islamabad and upscale areas of Rawalpindi are keeping wild animals including leopards as pets,” Bangash said.

Police are now trying to track down the owner of the leopard.

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

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