One of the Cikepuh Wildlife Reserve (WR) area habitats, the leopard, was suspected of extinction along with the loss of other key animals. The allegations spread after more than 50% of the area was not vegetated due to waves of encroachment at the beginning of the 1998-2001 Indonesia reform era, exacerbated by poaching of wildlife (including leopards and other animals such as bulls, peacocks, crocodiles, and Javan langurs) allegation of extinction of the carnivore from WR Cikepuh.
Along with the return of vegetation in (WR) Cikepuh as a result of rehabilitation activities, hopes of return of the leopards surfaced again. Starting from oral information groups of students of the Bogor Agricultural University and the surrounding communities. He continued, the survey results revealed there are signs of the existence of a leopard such as scratches, feces and footprints. However, due to the lack of existing data makes many parties doubt the truth and hope of the information.
Center for Natural Resources Conservation of West Java, answered the doubt, as the manager of (WR) Cikepuh area, together with the community and other elements to observe the information about the existence of the leopard. By using camera trap aids that are concentrated in locations that are suspected to be a leopard range and its area.
The result, after several days of observation between July – August 2016, 4 cameras managed to capture 7 frames of video showing leopard activity in (WR) Cikepuh. From the video revealed that as many as 3 individual leopard caught camera is a leopard with yellow spots pattern, while one individual is a variant of black spots or often known as panthers. The results of identification note that leopard caught camera is a different individual. Through simple analysis, it is predicted that the leopard population in (WR) Cikepuh is currently around 12 leopards. Nevertheless, more intensive observations are needed to determine the certainty of individual numbers and leopard sex ratio in (WR) Cikepuh.
The existence of a leopard according to the results of this research is an important information for Center for Natural Resources Conservation of West Java as the manager of (WR) Cikepuh. Following up the research, Center for Natural Resources Conservation of West Java developed work programs coupled with other regional strategic programs, such as leopard inventory, leopard conflict mitigation, forest fire control, development of Geopark Ciletuh core zone, reintroduction of bulls and other animals as well as preparation of second habitat for Javan rhinoceros.
Sustyo Iriyono, Head of Center for Natural Resources Conservation of West Java, confirmed that the presence of leopard back in SM Cikepuh be proof of the success of the conservation area restoration efforts. (WR) Cikepuh is an ecosystem of interactions between plants and wildlife, so the restoration efforts should not only be done to plants, but also to the wildlife. Efforts to re-enter the animals that have lived there (reintroduction) of animals is a regional strategic program that needs to get support from all parties.
By: Ilham Mochammad Saputra
Source info: Public Relations of Center for Natural Resources Conservation of West Java