Illegal trade in Indonesian leopards is booming

The country of Indonesia consists of many islands. Due to their relative size, these islands have led to many subspecies of animals adapting. 

In the past tigers existed on at least three of these islands. These animals once lived on Java and Bali, but now there is only a small population in Sumatra. 

In Java this leaves the the largest predator population consisting of the leopard – this is why it is so concerning that these leopards are being poached.

Javan Leopards are restricted to the island of Java, so the population is not huge.

83 cats have been seized between 2011 and 2019, in 41 separate seizures. With the missing tiger the jaavan ecosystem is already struggling. If it were to lose its leopards as well it would likely cease to function properly. Java only has between 300 and 500 remaining leopards, so these seizures represent a significant quantity and could well lead to the extinction of the javan leopard in the next few decades if it is not halted.

The sunda clouded leopard has likewise suffered significant poaching, and as with the java leopard has the potential to threaten the future viability of the clouded leopard.

Leopard skins, taxidermy leopard bodies and live leopard pets are all becoming status symbols, along with the constant threat from traditional medicine.

The threat is unfortunately significant, and with most law enforcement being unaware they do not take significant enough action, with finds of only a few thousand dollars and prison terms rarely lasting more than a year. Without care are the Javan leopard will go the same way as the Javan tiger within the next few decades.

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