Elusive leopard cat specimen added to PMNH

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Pakistan Museum of Natural History (PMNH) has added a newly discovered specimen of an endangered elusive Leopard cat to its collection which will be a source of attraction for wildlife lovers and researchers.

The Leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis), a small cat belonging to the family Felidae was found dead on the 76th National highway towards Murree in Islamabad late Wednesday night on December 14, 2022.

Renowned wildlife lover and an official of the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services, Rana Muhammad Riaz, found the dead specimen and reported the incident to the Pakistan Museum of Natural History (PMNH).

A team under the supervision of Muhammad Asif Khan, Curator Zoological Science Division PMNH, approached Rana Muhammad Riaz to receive the specimen and shifted it immediately to PMNH.

The leopard cat is listed as the least concern on the IUCN Red List, it generally ventures out at night to search for food and water. According to a study, 46.6 percent of roadkill in the Potohar plateau occurs in Rawalpindi and its surrounding areas. The 76 National highway has a dense green cover on both sides and the area is rich in wild flora and fauna. For the currently reported road killing of ecologically important wildlife, it is mandatory to install wildlife signs boards along the highway for public awareness and to minimise such incidence in the future.

Pakistan Museum of Natural History (PMNH) Islamabad was established in 1976, under the patronage of the Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF), Ministry of Science and Technology, Pakistan. PMNH has four divisions namely Botanical Sciences, Earth Sciences, Zoological Sciences and Public Services. The first three divisions are engaged in the collection, preservation, identification and research activities related to plants, animals, fossils, rocks and minerals resources of Pakistan, while the latter is responsible for public education through dioramas, exhibits, lectures, workshops, seminar, posters and film shows, etc. PMNH also provides consultancy and advisory services to public and private sector organisations.