Javan leopard

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]

Javan leopard
Panthera pardus close up-2.jpg
Javan leopard in a safari park in Bali, Indonesia
Scientific classification e
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)


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

Distribution and habitatEdit

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 altitudes 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 has been 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 behaviorEdit

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]


Panthera pardus melas 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, the silvery gibbon (Hylobates moloch), and the Javan hawk-eagle (Nisaetus bartelsi).[5]

To address the issue of Java's overpopulation and encroachment on habitat of protected species, the Indonesian government has formed a nationwide family planning program. This program makes contraceptive devices like condoms and several different forms of birth control pills more readily available to the public.[6]

In captivityEdit

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.[7] As of December 2011, two male and one female Javan leopard were kept in Tierpark Berlin, Germany; and one male and one female in the Jakarta Zoo.[8] In 2013, one male Javan leopard was transferred from Tierpark Berlin to the Prague Zoo.[9]


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.[10]

See alsoEdit

Leopard subspecies: African leopard  · Arabian leopard  · Panthera pardus tulliana  · Indian leopard  · Indochinese leopard  · Sri Lankan leopard  · Amur leopard  · Panthera pardus spelaea


  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. and 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.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  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. In: The wild cats: ecological diversity and conservation strategy. The 21st Century Center of Excellence Program International Symposium. Okinawa, Japan.
  6. ^ Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in London (2009). "A Solution to Java's Overcrowding". United Kingdom. Archived from the original on March 13, 2010. Retrieved December 8, 2009.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ International Species Information System (2011). "ISIS Species Holdings: Panthera pardus melas, December 2011".
  9. ^ Exner, O. (2013). "Rare Leopard in Prague Zoo". Portal of Prague. Archived from the original on 2013-10-13.
  10. ^ 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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