Surabaya. A Javan leopard was shot dead on Wednesday after it invaded a house in a village in the East Java regency of Lumajang and attacked three officers who were attempting to have it evacuated.
The leopard, believed to be from the forest-covered slopes of nearby Mount Semeru, ran into the house in Sumber village after being spotted and subsequently chased down by local residents who were attempting to drive it away, according to Taman Safari Indonesia director Tony Sumampauw.
The big cat invaded a house belonging to Mulyadi, who immediately fled along with his family. The villagers asked for help from the local authorities, and a team from Taman Safari II in Prigen, East Java, was sent to evacuate the animal.
“We came because we had been asked to come by many people, including the Forestry Ministry, to evacuate the Javan leopard,” Tony told the Jakarta Globe on Wednesday.
When the team arrived, they found a crowd surrounding Mulyaid’s house and immediately launched efforts to check on the animal.
“However, just as they opened the door to look at the leopard, it attacked two officers from Taman Safari and a policeman,” Tony said.
Another policeman immediately shot the animal.
“He was forced to shoot because lives were under threat,” Tony said.
The three officers attacked by the leopard sustained minor injuries and were treated at hospital.
The Javan leopard, Panthera pardus melas , is a subspecies of leopard confined to Java.
It has been classified as a critically endangered animal by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) since 2008, with the population estimated to be less than 250 mature individuals. It is protected under Indonesian law.
Tony said the leopard likely entered the village to search for water or hunt for goats reared by villagers, as the dry season made water and prey scarce on the mountain.
Communities living near forest areas often have to live under the constant threat of wild animal attacks.
In August, several families living in Bengkulu’s Seluma province were forced to flee their homes after receiving reports that a tiger had been seen prowling close to the village.
A local community leader in the village of Puguk said the tiger remained in the area for eight hours after the sighting before disappearing again into the forest.
In Riau’s Tesso Nilo National Park, the local Center for Natural Resources Conservation (BKSDA) office operates a team called the Flying Squad.
Initiated by the World Wide Fund for Nature in 2004, their job is to focus on redirecting elephants from plantations or residential areas ,where they can threaten people, back to their original habitat.