Video of Men Accused of Killing, Parading Endangered Leopard Sparks Outrage

A video shared across social media showing four men, reportedly in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, carrying a dead big cat on their backs has sparked outrage.

The man who shared the video dubbed it a "talent" that he wanted show show to "all [the] world."

Posted to TikTok, the four men can be seen lifting the lifeless big cat before one took it upon his shoulders. Despite the video labeling the cat as a "cheetah," reports and experts have suggested that it is in fact a leopard.

Little is confirmed about the cause of death of the animal, but the video was captioned: "Dear TikTok, please don't remove my video because I want to show my talent to all [the] world."

The video is still available on TikTok, but it's unclear if it's a repost of the original by a new account. It was shared across other platforms, where it was met with messages of dismay from environmentalists and wildlife advocates in Pakistan.

According to the Times, police said that they are looking to speak to the men in the video, but no arrests have yet been made.

@rajput_brand44

Again upload due to public demand ..Dear tiktok please don't remove my video because I want to show my tallent to all world 🌎#newaccount #grow #foryo

♬ original sound - Sãd_pöêtry_2

Osama Malik, a wildlife law expert, told the Times: "These apparently barbaric actions by the villagers not only contravene the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1890, the killing of an endangered species, without big game permit, also falls foul of the provincial wildlife and biodiversity laws. The law provides for both imprisonment and fines as punishment for violation."

"Generally law enforcement is weak, and prosecution even more so. On rare occasions when hunters are caught and convicted for illegal hunting they get away by paying the minimum fine."

In Pakistan, leopard-human encounters have become increasingly common thanks to the rise in deforestation and urbanization.

Reports continue to surface of leopards being killed, despite them being an endangered species, with locals citing the threat of attacks as the main reason.

In March 2020, villagers attacked a leopard with sticks and stones in a video, after it reportedly injured a resident. Experts, however, strongly recommend alternatives to killing the animals, including making loud noises and creating an empty passage of return for it.

Rina S. Khan Satti, chairwoman of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board, told the Times: "Common leopards are being mercilessly killed all over Pakistan. Soon they will become not so common. They are already critically endangered in Pakistan according to WWF Pakistan."

"As leopards are losing natural habitat and frequently killed by humans, we have started an initiative to set up a leopard preserve zone to educate the public and spread awareness about the need to protect wildlife and live in peaceful coexistence with wild animals like leopards," Satti said.

Newsweek has contacted the Azad Jammu and Kashmir police for more information.