ProFauna in News: Activist Slams Killing of Endangered Javan Leopard

By Dyah Ayu Pitaloka on 12:35 pm October 6, 2013.
Source: Jakarta Globe

Malang, East Java. The population of the Javan leopard in Bromo Tengger Semeru national park is estimated to be less than 10 due to persistent illegal hunting and habitat destruction, an environmentalist has said.

" The number of Javan leopards continues to drop," ProFauna Indonesia chairman Rosek Nursahid said.

He slammed the shooting of a leopard on Wednesday by authorities when the big cat invaded a house in a village in the East Java regency of Lumajang and attacked three officers who were attempting to have it evacuated.

The leopard, believed to be from the forest-covered slopes of nearby Mount Semeru, ran into the house in Sumber village after being spotted and subsequently chased by locals who were attempting to drive it away, according to Taman Safari Indonesia director Tony Sumampauw.

The big cat invaded a house belonging to Mulyadi, who immediately fled along with his family.

The villagers asked for help from the local authorities, and a team from Taman Safari II in Prigen, East Java, was sent to evacuate the animal.

"It was a premature to shoot the animal," Rosek said.

The prominent activist said the leopard left its habitat after becoming disoriented following a change in its boundaries due to illegal logging.

He urged authorities to boost their monitoring efforts to prevent more illegal loggers destroy the wild animal's habitat.

"Besides leopards, the national park is also inhabited by deer, monkeys and other rare animals," he said.

Official Ayu Dewi Utari, however, dismissed suggestions that the leopard attacked villagers because its habitat was destroyed, arguing that the animal was only separated from its mother and got lost.

"There is nothing wrong with the animal's habitat. They have plenty of food and water within the park to consume during the dry season. The leopard was just lost. The shooting was also in compliance with the regulations," she said.

The Javan leopard, Panthera pardus melas , is a subspecies of leopard confined to the island of Java.

It has been classified as critically endangered animal by the International Union for Conservation of Nature since 2008, with a population estimated to consist of 250 mature individuals in the wild. It is protected under Indonesian law.

An official previously said the leopard likely entered the village to search for water or hunt for goats reared by villagers, as the dry season made water and prey scarce on the mountain.

In August, several families living in Seluma, Bengkulu province, were forced to flee their homes after receiving reports that a tiger was seen close by.

A local community leader in the village of Puguk said the tiger remained in the area for eight hours after the sighting before disappearing again into the forest.

Habitat destruction has led to a large decrease in the population of big cats across the archipelago.

The Sumatran tiger has had much of its habitat destroyed as lands are cleared for palm oil and paper plantations.

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ProFauna Indonesia is an Indonesian society for the protection of
wild animals and their habitats