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Map of Javan leopard distribution provides guidance for conservation efforts

June 27, 2018

The first robust estimate of the distribution of the Javan leopard offers reliable information on where conservation efforts must be prioritized to safeguard the Indonesian island's last remaining large carnivore. The findings were reported in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on June 27, 2018 by Hariyo Tabah Wibisono of the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, USA, and colleagues.

The critically endangered Javan leopard (Panthera pardus melas) is one of the most threatened subspecies of leopard. Yet to date, it has received little conservation attention and its population status and distribution remain poorly known. To address this gap in knowledge, the researchers used species distribution modeling to predict the locations of suitable leopard habitats throughout Java, based on the most extensive Javan leopard occurrence dataset available.

The predictive map greatly improves those previously produced by the government of Indonesia and International Union for Conservation of Nature. For example, it adds six new priority landscapes and reveals that the leopard population spans several highly fragmented landscapes, which are far more isolated than previously thought. The study also highlights the importance of maintaining connectivity between protected areas and human-modified landscapes, because adjacent production forests and secondary forests were found to provide vital extensions for several Javan leopard subpopulations.

Wibisono adds: "With only 9% remaining suitable landscape, all priority landscapes identified in this study should be treated as critical for the long-term survival of Javan leopards. To prevent Javan leopards becoming extinct, as happened with Javan tigers, we urge the government of Indonesia and conservation partners to take immediate actions to secure the leopard's future."
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In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available article in PLOS ONE: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0198369

Citation: Wibisono HT, Wahyudi HA, Wilianto E, Pinondang IMR, Primajati M, Liswanto D, et al. (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. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0198369

Funding: Projects in this study were partly funded by the Mohammed Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund 13256220 (URL: https://www.speciesconservation.org/case-studies-projects/javan-leopard/6220) (EW), IdeaWild for a project titled "Initiating the protection of the last big carnivore of Java at Mount Slamet, Central Java" (HAW), and PT Holchim Indonesia and Fauna & Flora International for a biodiversity conservation planning in Nusakambangan Island (IP, MP). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interests: Funding for our study was received from the private sector mining company PT Holcim Indonesia. These funds formed part of a technical agreement with Fauna & Flora International (FFI) that was entitled Development of a Biodiversity Conservation Plan for Nusa Kambangan and Holcim's Mining Zone and ran from April 2010 to March 2011. Here, FFI conducted independent site-based surveys, which included the camera trapping that generated the leopard data for Nusa Kambangan. The funding did not influence the survey or its results in any way. Therefore, this does not alter our adherence to PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.

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