Indonesian Park Officials Douse Wildfire in Javan Leopard Habitat
October 12, 2021
Authorities in Indonesia have managed to put out a wildfire that had been tearing through a national park that’s home to rare leopards and eagles.
The fire started on the morning of Oct. 9 in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, home to the iconic Mount Bromo, a popular tourist attraction. It spread into the park from community lands, according to park spokesman Syarif Hidayat, though the cause remains unclear, he said. Firefighters were able to put out the fire on Oct. 10.
Fires occur almost every year in the national park, usually due to farmers burning land to clear it for planting, or tourists setting up campfires, or discarding cigarette butts, according to Rosek Nur Sahid, co-founder of conservation group ProFauna Indonesia. It was the second major fire to occur in the park this dry season.
Spanning an area nearly the size of the nation’s capital, Jakarta, the park is home to 38 protected species, including the Javan leopard (Panthera pardus melas) and the Javan hawk-eagle (Spizaetus bartelsi), both of which are endangered. The park is also home to 311 plant species, including the Javanese edelweiss (Anaphalis javanica), which is used in the traditional ceremonies of the Tengger people, and some rare species of orchid.
The Javan leopard is a subspecies of leopards that can be found on the Indonesian island of Java. This leopard 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. Indonesia prohibits hunting of this species, and the hunting laws are strictly enforced. This leopard species is also listed in Appendix I of CITES, which does not allow international trade of animals and their body parts.
Climate change is one of the serious issues that threaten the entire Earth. This mainly relates to the population of wildlife animals whose habitat depends on climate conditions. Deforestation is one of the consequences of the climate crisis. The most concentrated deforestation occurs in tropical rainforests. On average approximately 2400 trees are cut down each minute. According to the FAO, deforestation is defined as the conversion of forest to other land uses (regardless of whether it is human-induced). Deforestation poses a serious threat to this species of leopards that may go extinct if no actions are taken.