May 23rd, 2013 by Jake Richardson
Critically endangered Javan leopards have been caught on digital camera traps in West Java. If you have been following conservation news, you know that the Formosan Cloud Leopard was recently declared extinct. They were driven into extinction by human activities. So it is very important that the Javan leopards be protected or they may suffer the same fate.
Thirty cameras were placed in Gunung Halimun-Salak National Park in West Java, by researcher Age Kridalaksana, from the Center for International Forestry Research. For about a month the cameras recorded images of local wildlife. Most of the animals documented by the cameras were deer, civets and birds. There were also three Javan leopards. These leopards are about one hundred pounds and the height and length of an American mountain lion.
There are probably less than 250 left in the wild, according to IUCN. Loss of habitat, poaching and loss of prey animals are contributing factors in their decline. All these factors are due to human activities.
About 2,000 hectares of rainforest a year are being lost each year due to industrial activities such as mining and land clearing for palm oil plantations. If you want to protect these leopards and their habitat, make sure to stop using products containing palm oil. (Boycotting palm oil will likely also help orangutans.)
Even within Gunung Halimun-Salak National Park 25% of the forested area was lost from illegal logging.
The huge city of Jakarta with 20 million people is just several hours from the park. Surely, these wild animals deserve to have some natural habitat protected and kept undeveloped.
The Center for International Forestry Research works to conserve natural forests and their wildlife. They also are study poor human communities and their relationship with natural habitats. Their work is some of the most important on Earth. What complements it the most is human population management. If the human population had not reached over seven billion, some of these very difficult situations would be less damaging.
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