Save the Javan Leopard


Javan Leopard Project

The Javan leopard (Panthera pardus melas) is an endemic species to Java and currently classified as critically endangered on IUCN Red List, since there are possibly even fewer than 100 individuals left in the wild (Ario et al., 2008).

Update May 2023:  Javan Leopard Wayhu was released at Mount Halimun-Salak National Park under the coordination of MoeF (KKHSG), BBKSDA West Java, and Mount Halimun-Salak National Park. As a young male, Wahyu arrived at the Cikananga Wildlife Center in 2017, being a victim of animal-human conflict. Even though at the time of Wahyu’s arrival he was in a very poor condition and required intensive medical care, but he recovered well. In recent years, he has become a strong adult male, ready to return to his natural habitat to live freely in the wild. He benefited tremendously from the great care of the keepers of Cikananga, the Javan Leopard’s dedicated rehabilitation enclosure, and was given an additional focus on rehabilitation in the process towards release.

Update September 2022:  In March 2022 when an amazing milestone was reached for the first time in history when a long-term rehabilitated Javan leopard was released. Today we are still monitoring this individual and we are tracking the successful release through the GPS collar. This release is part of the Javan Leopard Progam of Cikananga & Wanicare. Please find the March update on this in the news section here, and find see more background below.


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Javan leopard at the Cikananga Wildlife Center

This is the result of pet trade, poaching, habitat loss and fragmentation but also due to a decline of prey species which forces leopards to enter villages to find food, what causes animal-human conflicts. There are many reports of leopard – human conflicts, which unfortunately often end up in the killing or capturing of leopards. Happily in recent years Cikananga Wildlife Center and Wanicare managed to get more involved in situations like these and we could trans locate a total of 11 (January 2020) individuals to Cikananga instead to Zoos. We were also involved with a few cases at which we could avoid capturing and leopards where successfully released back again.

Due to the increase of leopards – human conflict and an increase of the capturing of leopards our concerns for the future of the Javan leopards are growing, therefore we are developing the Javan Leopard Program, and therefore a strategy and mitigation plan for the leopard program has been developed.  In this plan we studied the complete process starting from the leopard-human conflict till the eventually goal release. This includes: Conflict mitigation, care and rehabilitation, habit assessment and surveys, release and monitoring, the education & awareness program and complete risk assessment for the program. To be fully in control of the program we designed all procedures of this plan to give insight in decision making after every taken step or event.

Although a limited number of habitat assessments are executed, no suitable release sites are identified till now (2020). And due the lack of international support and insufficient manpower, the goals of the program, being releasing the wild leopards that are currently in Cikananga back to their natural habitat wasn’t realized yet.


Cikananga Rescue unit is called out in 2017 to rescue a Javan Leopard in Halimun Salak

Although our goals are not reached till now, we still work on important milestones:

  • In cooperation with our partner FOUR PAWS a very large (1000 m2) leopards rehabilitation facility was constructed in Cikananga. It’s designed to fit their natural behavior, this is stimulated by climbing structures on different heights, hiding places, pools and elevated resting places above the ground, completely excluded from human interaction.
  • A Javan Leopard Focus Group was established to help the government to handle leopard issues. This forum consist of individuals and NGO’s who care for the conservation of the Javan Leopard. With data collection, field research and acting as a team with human-leopards conflicts has resulted already in some good outcomes; more knowledge of distribution and population, leopards where released back again or where evacuated to Cikananga
  • In cooperation with a zoo who really cares about the conservation of the Javan leopards, we are looking into the possibilities for the development of a conservation breeding program for leopards. This not by keeping leopards in captivity but trough sperm-insemination.

Javan Leopard Cikananga Wanicare Rehabilation Enclosure Four Paws

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Video of the first Javan Leopard entering the new rehabiliation enclosure

The future of the Javan Leopard depends on you
We are one of the few organisations that actually is fighting for the Javan Leopard. We cannot do this alone, and time is running out rapidly. If you also feel that the Javan Leopard deserves a a place in the word besides the history books: Please contact us at or donate right away.


Key word: Javan Leopard Indonesia Javan Panter Javaans Luipaard Critically Endangered Cikananga Leopard Wanicare Leopard Wanicare Luipaard Panter Java Melas Panthera pardus melas IUCN Leopard Bigcats Redlist Rescue Center