This is the story of how Indonesia is losing its spots. In a recent paper published in Nature Conservation, researchers found that the archipelagic nation has a significant illegal trade in two regional leopard species: the Javan leopard (Panthera pardus melas) and the Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi). This trafficking could pose a serious threat to two species that are already facing extinction — especially as it remains largely unrecognized as a problem. “Like many things on our radar, we picked these species up because they’re not on anyone else’s radar,” said Chris Shepherd, co-author of the new paper and executive director of the Monitor Conservation Research Society, which focuses on lesser-known species in the wildlife trade. “We didn’t expect as much illegal trade as we found. But starting to look at seizure data, we realized there were quite a few, and then quite a bit more once we really started digging.” Using media reports, published literature, and the government’s open-access court-case database, the researchers collected 41 records of leopard parts or living animals seized by authorities between 2011 and 2019. They estimate that the products of these seizures — including skins, teeth, claws, paws, skulls, taxidermy products, and live cubs — represent at least 83 animals, comprising 51 Javan leopards and 32 Sunda clouded leopards. While the majority of these seizures occurred within Indonesia, the authors also documented three seized international shipments that originated in Indonesia: one to Russia, one to Kuwait, and one to the United Kingdom. Found…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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