Indonesia's Most Endangered Mammals

A Javan Leopard in the wild.
A Javan Leopard in the wild.

Indonesia is a megadiverse country facing extreme environmental challenges and habitat loss, an unfortunate effect extending to its many critically endangered mammals. Indonesia’s numerous islands are home to some of the world’s iconic and endemic mammals. Some of these mammals are however endangered from an environmental threat such as habitat loss and poaching.

Javan Leopard (Panthera pardus melas)

The Javan Leopard (Panthera pardus melas) only inhibits the Island of Java in Indonesia. The leopard’s color can either be entirely black or orange with spots. The leopard has a wide habitat range on the island, from dense tropical rainforest to dry deciduous forests. The Javan leopard feeds on other animals such as wild boar, deer, Javan gibbon, silvery lutung, and long-tailed macaques. The leopard also preys on domestic animals such as poultry and dogs. The Javan leopard is one of the world’s most threatened big cat species. The leopard’s sustainability is continuously threatened by poaching, human encroachment, extensive agriculture and loss of habitat. Population pressure has caused 90% of Java’s natural vegetation to be cleared. The leopard’s numbers is estimated at less than 250 mature individuals and is already cause for environmental alarm. The leopard is conserved in several national parks such as Ujung Kulon National Park, Merapi National Park, Gunung Halimun National Park, and Baluran National Park. Poaching of the animal has subsequently been made illegal.

Sumatran Tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae)

The Sumatran Tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) is the smallest tiger subspecies, and is only found on the Indonesian Island of Sumatra.The tiger has an orange coat with black stripes. The tiger’s habitat ranges from lowland forest, mountain forest to tropical rainforest, and swamp forests. The Tiger has slightly webbed paws, which helps it to swim in pursuit of prey. Its diet mainly consists of wild boar, deer, tapir, monkeys, cattle, and fish. The leopard hunts mostly at night. The tiger has been on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's (IUCN's) Red List as a Critically Endangered species since 2008. The Sumatran tiger is continuously threatened by habitat loss and hunting. The tiger is conserved in five national parks and two game reserves, the largest numbers being in the Gunung Leuser National Park. About 100 are believed to be unprotected in the world, making them susceptible to human interference.

Javan Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis)

The Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus) is one of the most threatened rhinos on earth, and one which is found on the Island of Java in Indonesia. The animal’s skin is scale-like and ranges from gray-brown to gray, and it has one gray or brownish color horn. The rhinoceros has a long pointed upper lip to assist in food grasping, and it is herbivorous. The Javan rhinoceros is estimated to live for an average of between 35 to 40 years while in the wild. The rhinoceros has a great sense of smell but it is short-sighted, and it is, for the most part, a solitary animal. The rhinoceros had a wide habitat range, both in the lowland and highlands and it currently exists as a single population in Ujung Kulon peninsula, on Java Island. The largest threat to the rhinoceros has been poaching for their horns coupled with habitat degradation. The Ujung Kulon peninsula remains protected to sustain their already dismal numbers. Poaching of the rhinoceros is also illegal on Java Island.

Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii)

The Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii) is a species of the orangutan primates inhabiting the Indonesian island of Sumatra. There, the species is mainly concentrated on the highly significant Leuser Ecosystem. Recent statistics estimate the species’ population to be at 14,613. The animal is characterized by pale red long hair and a long face. The Sumatran Orangutan feeds on insects and fruits as well as bird eggs. The species makes tools from branches for use while searching for food. The animal spends most of its time on trees because of predators and has adopted various locomotion techniques due to its heavy size. The animal has five life cycles and can live for more than 50 years. The species is listed as Critically Endangered and is threatened by continued degradation of the Leuser Ecosystem. Logging, human encroachment, and mining activities have adversely affected the species’ population. Sumatran Orangutan inhabits the Gunung Leuser National Park and the Bukit Lawang, where conservation programs have been established.

Other Critically Endangered Mammals of Indonesia

Other critically endangered mammals in Indonesia include Sir David’s long-beaked echidna, thr Eastern long-beaked echidna, the Western long-beaked echidna, the Talaud bear cuscus, the Telefomin Cuscus, the Black-spotted cuscus, the Blue-eyed spotted cuscus, the Northern glider, the Golden-mantled tree-kangaroo, the Tenkile, the Black dorcopsis, the Sumatran water shrew, Jenkin’s shrew, the Flores shrew, Bulmer’s fruit bat, the Aru flying fox, the Black-eared flying fox, the Sunda pangolin, the Sumatran rhinoceros, the Heavenly Hill rat, the Manusela mosaic-tailed rat, the Lowland brush mouse, the Enggano rat, the Biak giant rat, Emma’s giant rat, the Celebes crested macaque, the Pagai Island macaque, the Sarawak Surili, and the Pig-tailed langur.

Indonesia's Most Endangered Mammals

Critically Endangered Mammals of IndonesiaScientific Name
Sir David's long-beaked echidna
Zaglossus attenboroughi
Eastern long-beaked echidna
Zaglossus bartoni
Western long-beaked echidna
Zaglossus bruijnii
Talaud bear cuscus
Ailurops melanotis
Telefomin cuscus
Phalanger matanim
Black-spotted cuscus
Spilocuscus rufoniger
Blue-eyed spotted cuscus
Spilocuscus wilsoni
Northern glider
Petaurus abidi
Golden-mantled tree-kangaroo
Dendrolagus pulcherrimus
Dendrolagus scottae
Black dorcopsis
Dorcopsis atrata
Sumatran water shrew
Chimarrogale sumatrana
Jenkins' shrew
Crocidura jenkinsi
Flores shrew
Suncus mertensi
Bulmer's fruit bat
Aproteles bulmerae
Aru flying fox
Pteropus aruensis
Black-eared flying fox
Pteropus melanotus
Sunda pangolin
Manis javanica
Javan leopard
Panthera pardus melas
Sumatran tiger
Panthera tigris sumatrae
Sumatran rhinoceros
Dicerorhinus sumatrensis
Javan rhinoceros
Rhinoceros sondaicus
Heavenly hill rat
Bunomys coelestis
Manusela mosaic-tailed rat
Melomys fraterculus
Lowland brush mouse
Pogonomelomys bruijni
Enggano rat
Rattus enganus
Biak giant rat
Uromys boeadii
Emma's giant rat
Sumatran orangutan
Uromys emmae
Pongo abelii
Celebes crested macaque
Pagai Island macaque
Macaca nigra
Macaca pagensis
Sarawak surili
Pig-tailed langur
Presbytis chrysomelas
Simias concolor

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