Javan leopard release program – Update May 2014
Although the situation where Dimas and Sawal are living in right now isn’t ideal, they are both fine. They are active, hunting and eating well. The caretaker at the sanctuary is giving them live prey once a week. On other days they get their food in different ways to give them enrichment: meat hanging on a rope, or hidden in a carton box that is hanging in their enclosure. Unfortunately we still haven’t found a suitable release site for them. It really is a difficult situation as there are not so many suitable areas left and the better areas are already occupied by other leopards. Besides, there’s so many human-leopard conflict.
At this moment we are still focusing on the Ciremai National Park. One male leopard has been spotted there, but more research needs to be done in the middle of this National park. Although we are very happy with the help and cooperation with the National Park, the research isn’t going as fast as we hoped for. We are depending on their officers and they are also the ones who place the camera-traps to see if there are more leopards around.
If it appears so there’s just one male around in this area, the question still would be if it is wise to release our two males there as well, as they no doubt will start searching for females and if they are not around in this National park they will probably start looking outside. If they leave the area we can start all over again as there will be conflicts with humans again. There’s just too little space for wildlife and leopards left on Java and not much better elsewhere in the world.
An other option is Cikapu area. The Forest Department talked to us about this area as it seems there are no leopards around here but they are interested to get some there. But before this can happen lots of work needs to be done, to have this area better managed as a lot of people are entering this area. Also the usual habitat assessment needs to be done first, so before we actually know for sure it is suitable, many months will pass… and still many more funds are needed.
Just for you to know, we continue to work hard on this and hopefully next time there will be better news about the release of our two leopard friends Sawal and Dimas. Keep them in your prayers and if you have anything to spend, please fund and support the leopards with the help they so desperately need.