GILGIT: A project, the first of its kind in Gilgit-Baltistan, prepared by a student of Karakoram International University (KIU) has been approved for an annual award.
“DNA testing and GPS position of snow leopard genetic material in Gilgit-Baltistan” is the project that was scrutinised and nominated for an award by the scientific committee of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), said a university spokesperson. The project was submitted by Nilofer, a student of KIU who prepared it with help from the Associate Dean Dr Khalil Ahmed. He said that the International Snow Leopard Trust and WWF sponsored the student for the research project, which is the first of its kind in a region where the rare snow leopard faces extinction. Environmentalists say most incidents in which snow leopards are targeted are reprisal attacks following attacks on livestock.
Last week, a snow leopard was beaten to death by the people of Mathal, a remote village in Skardu, after the ageing cat broke into a cattle house. Locals managed to protect their cattle, but seriously injured the leopard. It died in the forest department’s custody. The International Snow Leopard Trust will give the student US$8,000 while the WWF will provide Rs200,000.