Oddly Enough

Leopard roams Pakistani prime minister's garden

A Chinese Leopard cub (Panthera pardus japonensis) snarls during a name giving ceremony at the 'Tierpark Hagenbeck' zoo in Hamburg September 28, 2007. REUTERS/Christian Charisius

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistani hunters are trying to catch a wild leopard roaming the grounds of Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani’s official residence, an official said on Monday.

The animal, first spotted on a closed-circuit television camera, slipped into the garden of the well-guarded Islamabad compound late last week, perhaps in search of prey such as wild boar that also roam the area.

“It’s a big animal,” said the prime minister’s spokesman, Imran Gardezi, adding that Gilani had not left the residence and was carrying on with his duties as usual.

Wildlife officials armed with tranquillizer darts have been trying to catch the leopard. They almost had it cornered on Sunday, but it leapt over a six-foot (1.8 metre) wall topped with barbed wire into another part of the compound, Gardezi said.

Islamabad was built in the 1960s up against the forested foothills of the Himalayas and animals including wild boar, foxes, monkeys and porcupines are often seen in the city’s green spaces.

But the leopard might not be allowed to roam free for much longer. “If it can’t be caught alive today perhaps orders will be given to shoot it,” Gardezi said.

Reporting by Augustine Anthony; Editing by Robert Birsel and Miral Fahmy