Indonesia: Rare Javan leopard spotted in West Java

Hans Nicholas Jong The Jakarta Post 9 Feb 17;

A Javan leopard has been captured on camera at a conservation park in West Java. (JP/File)

The Javan leopard, a critically endangered subspecies, has been sighted at the Cikepuh conservation park in Sukabumi, West Java.

The sighting of four leopards is significant as it is believed there were fewer than 250 adults of productive age left in 2008, with a rapidly decreasing population due to habitat loss, poaching and prey depletion.

The West Java Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BBKSDA) caught the leopards on camera from July to August 2016 along trails found by local people and researchers.

“The 28-day observation captured seven video frames that show the leopards’ activities at the Cikepuh park.

"Three leopards with yellow spots and another with black spots were filmed,” Environment and Forestry Ministry spokesman Djati Witjaksono Hadi said.

The ministry estimates that 12 leopards live in the park.

“Further observation is needed to determine the exact number of leopards as well as the sex ratio,” Djati said.

The park was thought to have no Javan leopards within its confines due to half of the area being degraded from 1998 to 2001.

The discovery indicates the success of the rehabilitation and restoration of the Cikepuh conservation park. (dan)

Javan leopard sighting in Indonesia raises hopes for rare big cat
Channel NewsAsia 9 Feb 17;

JAKARTA: Four Javan leopards have been spotted in an Indonesian national park where they were previously thought to have died out, raising hopes for the future of the rare big cat.

The leopards were filmed in Cikepuh wildlife sanctuary on Java island by hidden cameras installed after reports the creatures' dung and footprints had been spotted in the area, the environment ministry said Thursday.

Several sets of cameras scanned the area for 28 days in July and August, and filmed three leopards with yellow fur and black spots, and one that was entirely black.

Another eight leopards were believed to be roaming the sanctuary, the ministry said, basing their estimate on studies of the animals' footprints and scratches found on trees.

"The return of this species indicates that the sanctuary has been successfully restored," said environment ministry spokesman Djati Witjaksono Hadi.

The Javan leopard was previously believed to have died out in Cikepuh in the early 2000s due to rampant illegal logging that has devastated the area's forests, the big cat's natural habitat.

Environmental group Conservation International estimated in 2015 there were only around 500 Javan leopards left in the wild, most in forests in western Java.

Leopards are the smallest members of the big cat family, and can grow to around six feet (1.8 metres) in length. Different leopard subspecies are found across the world, from Africa to India and Russia.

- AFP/ek

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