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Javan leopard

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Javan leopard
Javan leopard in a safari park in Bali, Indonesia
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Felidae
Subfamily: Pantherinae
Genus: Panthera
P. p. melas
Trinomial name
Panthera pardus melas
(G. Cuvier, 1809)
Distribution of the Javan leopard in red

The Javan leopard (Panthera pardus melas) is a leopard subspecies confined to the Indonesian island of Java. It has been listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List since 2021. The population is estimated at 188–571 mature individuals in 22 fragmented subpopulations and a declining population trend. The total remaining habitat is estimated at only 2,267.9 to 3,277.3 km2 (875.6 to 1,265.4 sq mi).[1]


The Javan leopard was initially described as a black panther with dark black spots and silver-gray eyes.[2] It has either a normal spotted coat with rosettes or a recessive phenotype resulting in a black coat.[3]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The Javan leopard is confined to the Indonesian island of Java. It is known to inhabit Gunung Halimun National Park, Ujung Kulon National Park, Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park, Ceremai National Park, Merbabu National Park, Merapi National Park, Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, Meru Betiri National Park, Ijen Mountain, Baluran National Park and Alas Purwo National Park.[1] It inhabits elevations from sea level to 2,540 m (8,330 ft) ranging from dense tropical rainforest to dry deciduous forests. Outside protected areas, it was recorded in secondary forest, mixed agriculture and production forest between 2008 and 2014.[4]

In the 1990s, it survived in the seral stages of successional vegetation patterns, which made it less susceptible to humans' disruptive activities than many other mammals.[3]

From 2001 to 2004, monitoring research was conducted in a 20 km2 (7.7 sq mi) area of Gunung Halimun National Park using camera traps and radio tracking. Seven leopards were identified in the study area. The total population was estimated at 42 to 58 individuals. The home range of an adult female averaged 9.82 km2 (3.79 sq mi).[5]

Ecology and behavior[edit]

Skull of a Javan leopard

The Javan leopard's prey comprises barking deer, wild boar, Java mouse-deer, and primates such as crab-eating macaque, silvery lutung and Javan gibbon. Javan leopards also look for food in close by villages and have been known to prey on domestic dogs, chickens and goats.[3] Two leopards were radio-collared in the Gunung Halimun National Park. Their daily activity pattern showed peaks in the early mornings between 6:00 and 9:00, and late afternoons between 15:00 and 18:00.[5]


Seven Javan leopards and one Javan tiger killed during Rampokan, circa 1900.
Men and a child with a newly shot leopard in Banten, West Java, circa 1915–1926.

The Javan leopard is threatened by loss of habitat, prey base depletion, and poaching due to human population growth and agricultural expansion.[1] Conflict between local people and leopards is also considered to be a main threat to the Javan leopard.[5] Java has lost more than 90% of its natural vegetation and is one of the most densely populated islands in the world. Primary forests remain only in the mountainous regions at elevations above 1,400 m (4,600 ft).[3]


The Javan leopard is listed in the CITES Appendix I.[1] Efforts are being made to restore the Javan leopard population and prevent its extinction. Hunting laws are strictly enforced. In 2005, Gunung Halimun National Park was enlarged to three times its original size for the protection of the Javan leopard, silvery gibbon (Hylobates moloch) and Javan hawk-eagle (Nisaetus bartelsi).[5]

In captivity[edit]

In 1997, 14 Javan leopards were kept in European zoos. The Javan leopard is not specifically managed in captive breeding programs in Europe and America. As of 2007, the Taman Safari Zoo in Bogor, Indonesia, kept 17 Javan leopards, seven males and 10 females, of which four were breeding pairs. The Indonesian zoos of Ragunan, Taman Safari, and Surabaya Zoo also keep Javan leopards.[6] As of December 2011, two male and one female Javan leopard were kept in Tierpark Berlin, Germany; and one male and one female in Ragunan Zoo.[7] In 2013, one male Javan leopard was transferred from Tierpark Berlin to the Prague Zoo.[8]

Javan leopards are also kept at the Cikananga Wildlife Rescue Center[9] in a special enclosure until they can be released back into the wild.[10] In May 2023, Javan Leopard Wayhu was released at Mount Halimun-Salak National Park under the coordination of MoeF (KKHSG), BBKSDA West Java, and Mount Halimun-Salak National Park. As a young male, Wahyu arrived at the Cikananga Wildlife Center in 2017, being a victim of animal-human conflict. Even though at the time of Wahyu’s arrival he was in a very poor condition and required intensive medical care, he recovered well. In recent years, he has become a strong adult male, ready to return to his natural habitat to live freely in the wild. He benefited tremendously from the great care of the keepers of Cikananga, the Javan Leopard’s dedicated rehabilitation enclosure, and was given an additional focus on rehabilitation in the process of release. [11]


Morphological research indicates that the Javan leopard is craniometrically distinct from other Asian leopard subspecies, and is a distinct taxon that split off from other Asian leopard subspecies in the Middle Pleistocene about 800,000 years ago. In the Middle Pleistocene, it may have migrated to Java from South Asia across a land bridge that bypassed Sumatra and Borneo.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Wibisono, H.; Wilianto, E.; Pinondang, I.; Rahman, D.A. & Chandradewi, D. (2021). "Panthera pardus ssp. melas". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2021: e.T15962A50660931.
  2. ^ Cuvier, G. (1809). "Recherches sur les espėces vivantes de grands chats, pour servir de preuves et d'éclaircissement au chapitre sur les carnassiers fossils". Annales du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle. Tome XIV: 136–164.
  3. ^ a b c d Santiapillai, C.; Ramono, W. S. (1992). "Status of the leopard (Panthera pardus) in Java, Indonesia" (PDF). Tiger Paper. XIX (2): 1–5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-09-02. Retrieved 2011-04-21.
  4. ^ Wibisono, H.T.; Wahyudi, H.A.; Wilianto, E.; Pinondang, I.M.R.; Primajati, M.; Liswanto, D.; Linkie, M. (2018). "Identifying priority conservation landscapes and actions for the Critically Endangered Javan leopard in Indonesia: Conserving the last large carnivore in Java Island". PLOS ONE. 13 (6): e0198369. Bibcode:2018PLoSO..1398369W. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0198369. PMC 6021038. PMID 29949588.
  5. ^ a b c d Harahap, S.; Sakaguchi, H. (2005). Ecological research and conservation of the Javan Leopard Panthera pardus melas in Gunung Halimun National Park, West Java, Indonesia (PDF). The wild cats: ecological diversity and conservation strategy. Okinawa, Japan: The 21st Century Center of Excellence Program International Symposium.
  6. ^ Gippoliti, S.; Meijaard, E. (2007). "Taxonomic uniqueness of the Javan Leopard: an opportunity for zoos to save it". Contributions to Zoology. 76: 55–58. doi:10.1163/18759866-07601005. S2CID 55715897.
  7. ^ International Species Information System (2011). "ISIS Species Holdings: Panthera pardus melas, December 2011". Archived from the original on 2021-02-01. Retrieved 2011-11-13.
  8. ^ Exner, O. (2013). "Rare Leopard in Prague Zoo". Portal of Prague. Archived from the original on 2013-10-13.
  9. ^ "Cikananga Wildlife Center | Wanicare Foundation". Retrieved 2024-01-11.
  10. ^ Maulana, R.; Gawi, J. M.; Utomo, S. W. (2020). "Architectural design assessment of Javan leopard rehabilitation facility regarding the occurrence of stereotypical pacing". IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science. 426 (1): 012075. Bibcode:2020E&ES..426a2075M. doi:10.1088/1755-1315/426/1/012075.
  11. ^ "Save the Javan Leopard | Wanicare Foundation". Retrieved 2024-01-11.
  12. ^ Meijaard, E. (2004). "Biogeographic history of the Javan leopard Panthera pardus based on craniometric analysis". Journal of Mammalogy. 85 (2): 302–310. doi:10.1644/ber-010.

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