TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The natural habitat of the Javan lutung or locally known as Lutung Jawa in Pantai Bahagia Village, Muara Gembong, Bekasi Regency, West Java is threatened due to the shrinking mangrove forest area.
“There aren't enough mangrove trees for them to live because of rampant clearing lands for ponds,” said the village’s tourism agency official Ahmad Qurtubi in Bekasi, Wednesday, December 8, as quoted from Antara.
Qurtubi explained that the mangrove forest which is the habitat of 100 ebony monkeys, species of Trachypithecus auratus, only has 14 hectares left now.
“It is now about 5-7 hectares in the north and in the south. Only 14 hectares are left. In the past, around the 1980s the habitat of the Javan Lutung in Muara Gembong Village was more than 40 hectares,” he said.
Qurtubi said that a small group of the vulnerable species consisted of seven to 10 monkeys. A small group ideally needs 12 hectares of land to survive. “That's based on the results of our comparative study to primate observers in Ciwidey, Bandung,” he added.
In addition to habitat loss, Qurtubi who is also the village secretary said that massive hunting also threatens the animal habitat albeit they are listed as protected animals by the government.
“At present, there are 55 monkeys in the north and 40 in the south. The population increases by five to six monkeys every year in the two locations since 2013. Previously, it was only about 20 to 30 monkeys. Hunting has always been a scourge, but we as environmental activists together with residents will preserve them,” he underlined.
Qurtubi further reiterated several things to be executed to support the existence of Lutung Jawa to be a favorite tourist attraction, such as building conservation area and its habitat and improving the infrastructure in Muara Gembong as an educational tourism area.