Snow Leopard Shot by Villagers

An endangered snow leopard that had retreated up a tree near a village was shot by some of the residents who claimed self-defense. The wild cat was said by a villager to have remained in the tree for eight hours.
The location was the remote town of Rawalkot in Azad Kashmir.

Initially villagers noticed the snow leopard near settled areas and contacted a local official who told them to scare it away with firecrackers. They killed it instead. Their defense for the cat’s death was protecting
human life, however no verified attack on a human by a snow leopard has ever taken place, according to the Snow Leopard Trust. Snow leopards are known to be very wary of humans and remain far away in mountainous areas. They only time they may be aggressive is when they have cubs and people are getting to close to them. Snow leopards reportedly will not  even defend an animal they have killed and are eating, if humans approach. Snow leopards have been said to be the least aggressive of the large cats.

So it seems more likely the villagers were the aggressors and merely used self-defense as a justification for their behavior. The fact they skinned and dressed the cat and distributed its meat throughout the village suggests they may have had an ulterior motive. Last year another snow leopard was also shot and killed in the same area. Another clue the main motivation was not self-defense is a local superstition consuming snow leopard is beneficial for treatment of orthopedic diseases. This kind of irrational belief is also
driving the illegal trade in wildlife (tiger body parts and rhino horns)  putting species on the verge of extinction. The mere fact such a belief exists suggests strongly there has been a historical practice of killing snow leopards to eat them.

The Snow Leopard Conservancy has been working with communities living near snow leopard habitats to reduce the number of killings and to  help villagers economically.

Image Credit: Niabot, Wiki Commons

Related Links

First Russian Snow Leopard Photos

Saving Mongolia’s Snow Leopards

160 comments

Kathleen S.
Kathleen S.3 years ago

So many animals killed for money. Someone had to profit from this beautiful animals being killed. I am sure they have a lot of excuses for this death.

JO MUNZ
JO MUNZ3 years ago

So deeply heartbreaking to hear of these preventable horror stories -- to be surrounded by ignorance, superstitious tendencies, irrationality, untrue and ridiculous old-wives' tales, cruelty, lack of conscience, this beautiful cat didn't stand a chance -- if only I were there to help him (her) keep his distance from the villagers while getting help from organizations who know and care about snow leopards -- if only these good people from the snow leopard organizations knew what was and is going on in this area -- PLEASE, let this NOT be repeated -- the snow leopards have the right to live their lives and no one has the right to take their lives away. PLEASE educate and enlighten these people.

Camilla Vaga
Camilla Vaga3 years ago

i hope those cruel villagers will suffer for this awful exuse for humanbeings, murders

Camilla Vaga
Camilla Vaga3 years ago

that so sick, guess who i wanna shoot- the villagers that shoot the snowleopard, there is no exuse for such behaviours.

Adilene W.
Addy W.3 years ago

IDIOTS!

Arwen Woods
Arwen Woods3 years ago

This makes me sick. There are no words.

Chrissi M.
Chris E.3 years ago

***sigh*** ... ... ... Love and light to both snow leopards.

Lin M
Lin M3 years ago

This has been here before but still a sad story.

LMj Sunshine

Heartbreaking.