A pet leopard running amok in Pakistani capital of Islamabad created quite a fear on Thursday (February 16). The leopard roamed the streets for hours before being shot with a sedation dart. Videos posted on social media show the male leopard slipping 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.

After large numbers of exotic mammals were brought in or bred in recent years, Pakistan went ahead last year and banned such an import.

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.

(With inputs from agencies)

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