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Harimau Jawa (Panthera tigris sondaica), yang ukuran tubuhnya berada di antara ukuran tubuh subjenis harimau Sumatera dan harimau Bali, bertahan sedikit lebih lama. Pada tahun 1850-an, harimau Jawa dianggap sebagai 'gangguan' di beberapa daerah perkotaan dan pada tahun 1872 hadiah yang diberikan bagi sebuah kepala harimau yang terbunuh di Tegal, Jawa Tengah, adalah sekitar 3.000 gulden. Waktu itu ada beberapa lusin harimau dibunuh dalam usaha memperoleh hadiah tersebut.

Bahkan sampai abad ini harimau Jawa bukan tidak biasa ditemui dan meminta korban ratusan jiwa manusia setiap tahunnya, namun penduduk tidak mau memerangi harimau ini, karena jika mereka melakukannya, berdasarkan pengalaman, akan menyebabkan rusaknya tanaman mereka oleh serbuan kawanan babi. Meskipun demikian, seorang pemburu ulung Ledeboer mengaku telah menembak 100 ekor harimau antara tahun 1910 dan 1940. Selain itu keadaan menyedihkan yang dialami harimau ini tidak didukung oleh adanya permintaan terus-menerus dari pembuat topeng merak dan harimau Singabarong yang digunakan dalam pertunjukan tari tradisional reog ponorogo di Jawa Tengah dan Jawa Timur.

Sampai tahun 1940 harimau sering terlihat dan ditembak di bagian selatan Jawa Barat, dan kadang-kadang beberapa ekor mencapai daerah Subang dan Cibadak. Populasi ini kemudian merosot dan mendekati pertengahan tahun 1960-an, harimau Jawa hanya ditemukan di suaka alam Ujung Kulon, Leuweung Sancang, Baluran dan Meru Betiri.

Perlawanan perjuangan rakyat pada waktu itu menyebabkan kelompok-kelompok penduduk bersenjata mencari perlindungan di berbagai kawasan tersebut. Harimau mati karena tidak tahan terhadap serangan anthrax atau karena menipisnya populasi rusa.

Tidak satu pun kawasan hutan yang tersisa di jawa pada pertengahan abad ini merupakan habitat utama harimau dan hutan ini semakin lama semakin terpenggal-penggal. Jelas bahwa kepunahan harimau Jawa terjadi karena ruang gerak tidak tersedia lagi. Kesimpulan yang sama berlaku juga bagi harimau Bali, tetapi diperburuk ketika beberapa harimau yang masih tersisa dipromosikan sebagai sasaran olah raga berburu pada tahun 1930-an.

Berbagai survai yang dilakukan oleh PHPA dan World Wide Fund for Nature pada tahun 1976, menegaskan bahwa ada tiga ekor harimau di Taman Nasional Meru Betiri, tetapi tidak ditemukan bukti-bukti adanya perkembangbiakan. Binatang-binatang ini tidak membatasi kegiatannya hanya di dalam taman, namun mereka juga tidak menggunakan seluruh kawasan berhutan yang tersedia.

Pada tahun 1979 tiga ekor harimau masih tersisa. Presiden Soeharto menekankan kebutuhan untuk melindungi harimau tersebut, namun usaha ini memerlukan relokasi 5.000 buruh perkebunan. Beberapa politikus menganggap tindakan untuk menyelamatkan beberapa ekor harimau ini terlalu berlebihan, sehingga usaha konservasinya menjadi terhambat.

Berbagai instruksi yang diperlukan untuk melindungi harimau akhirnya dikeluarkan, namun tidak pemah benar-benar dilakukan sehingga pada pertengahan tahun 1980-an harimau Jawa tidak lebih dari sekedar simbol bagi divisi tentara Siliwangi dijawa Barat, binatang buruan ini tidak ditemukan oleh mahasiswa peserta berbagai ekspedisi, dan hanya simbol dorongan hati manusia.

Meskipun Meru Betiri merupakan tempat perlindungan terakhir bagi harimau, sebenarnya bukan merupakan habitat khusus yang tepat bagi harimau, dan secara alami harimau tidak akan hidup dalam kepadatan yang sangat tinggi, karena dataran alluvial yang lebih rendah yang menyediakan populasi mangsa besar terutama rusa telah diubah menjadi perkebunan, segera sesudah Perang Dunia II .

Laporan saksi mata dan jejak -jejak harimau dilaporkan ditemukan pada tahun 1979 di lereng Gn. Slamet bagian selatan yang berhutan, namun karena tidak ada pengamatan ulang semenjak itu, tampaknya tidak ada harapan harimau tersebut dapat bertahan hidup.

Menetapkan waktu kepunahan binatang yang secara metafisik memegang peranan penting seperti harimau, sulit dilakukan karena penduduk mempunyai kesan yang melekat erat tentang harimau , tidak mengherankan jika kadang-kadang laporan mengenai harimau tunggal yang terpencil muncul di berbagai surat kabar, tetapi hampir pasti apa yang diberitakan itu adalah macan kumbang Panthera pardus yang lebih mudah menyesuaikan diri , yang nama lokalnya sangat mirip.

Meskipun tidak pernah diumumkan secara resmi, seseorang dapat menyatakan, tanpa merasa takut akan munculnya pertentangan pendapat, bahwa harimau Jawa telah punah. Bukti-bukti kuat tentang keberadaannya tidak mungkin ditunjukkan sejak 15 tahun terakhir, meskipun banyak ekspedisi yang telah dilakukan. Luas Taman Nasional Meru Betiri hanya 50 km2, kawasan seluas ini secara normal dihuni enam atau tujuh ekor harimau betina dan tiga ekor harimau jantan. Jumlah yang sedikit lebih banyak dapat dipaksakan menghuni kawasan tersebut jika harimau-harimau itu memangsa binatang ternak di sekitar Taman Nasional.

Laporan baru mengenai kematian binatang ternak yang disebabkan oleh harimau tidak ada, dan bertambahnya kepadatan harimau akan melebihi daya dukung.Jika masih ada satu atau dua ekor yang tersisa, harimau Jawa secara esensial tetap punah, terutama ditinjau dari segi ekologi dan evolusi. Kondisi mengerikan yang dialami saudara sepupunya di Sumatera. Jaringan para pemburu dan petugas dalam pengumpulan kulitnya, menjadi peringatan bahwa memburu seekor harimau bukan merupakan hal yang sulit, ikatkan seekor kambing lapar yang mengembik-embik pada sebatang pohon di tengah hutan dan dalam beberapa hari binatang buruan anda akan datang.

Sulit dipercaya jika pada waktu yang telah lalu orang tidak datang untuk mengambil spesimen yang terakhir, mengingat jutaan penduduk yang dengan mudah dapat mencapai Taman Nasional Meru Betiri, publisitas besar besaran yang menyatakan Taman Nasional ini sebagai "tempat perlindungan terakhir 'harimau' di jawa", tidak efektifnya sistem penjagaan, tingginya harga kulit harimau untuk membuat topeng Singabarong dalam jumlah besar untuk reog ponorogo, dan nilai bagian-bagian tubuh lainnya bagi pengobatan dan tingginya uang yang ditawarkan.

Harimau memakam mamalia besar seperti rusa, babi hutan, kerbau  dan juga binatang kecil seperti  monyet, burung, reptilia dll. Dahulu kadang kala memangsa ternak penduduk, seperti sapi, kambing, ayam, bebek. Harimau memakan mangsa beserta tulangnya. Daging sisa mangsa biasanya ditimbun oleh harimau. Kalau macan tutul atau macan kumbang, hanya memakan daging tidak dengan tulang. Dan sisa mangsa disimpan di atas cabang pohon

ukuran kotoran harimau Jawa lebih besar dari 3,4 sentimeter, mengandung rambut mangsa, serpihan tulang, dan kadang kuku kaki mangsa. Sedangkan kotoran macan tutul atau macan kumbang memiliki ciri adanya de-daunan di bagian paling ujung kotoran, dan ukurannya tidak pernah lebih besar dari 3 sentimeter.

Harimau jawa kini telah punah dan hanya meninggalkan cerita mistis yang masih menjadi legenda di masyarakat jawa. Masyarakat sangat takut dan menghormati harimau sehingga menyebutnya dengan "eyang, mbah atau kakek/nenek." Agar selamat taring, kuku, atau potongan kulit harimau sering dijadikan jimat.

Salah satu kisah misterinya adalah perwujudan harimau jadi-jadian. Seseorang yang memiliki ilmu harimau yang sempurna diyakini bisa berubah ujud menjadi harimau. Tingkatan ilmunya mulai dari cakar harimau, selanjutnya meningkat ilmunya menjadi lompatan harimau. Semakin tinggi ilmunya bagian tubuh mulai bisa berubah menjadi harimau. Dikisahkan seseorang yang sangat sakti selalu diikuti oleh harimau, konon harimau ini hanya bisa terlihat secara gaib. Cerita penampakan Prabu Siliwangi selalu ditandai dengan hadirnya seekor harimau di samping beliau.

Beberapa pendaki gunung di tahun 90an hingga awal 2000, bercerita pernah berjumpa atau didatangi harimau jawa ketika sedang beristirahat, berkemah atau sedang membuat api unggun. Diantaranya di gn. Semeru ketika sedang tidur merebahkan diri di atas rumput seorang pendaki ditemani seekor harimau yang tidur di sampingnya. Di gunung Ciremei pendaki yang bermalam ketika membuka tenda dikagetkan oleh seekor harimau yang berdiri di depan tenda. Di gunung Lawu awal tahun 2000an beberapa pendaki mendengarkan auman harimau yang bergema sangat keras. Di gunung Arjuna-Welirang ketika sedang membuka jalur, beberapa penambang belerang yang sedang beristirahat didatangi seekor harimau yang mematikan api unggun mereka dengan ekornya.

Penelitian oleh sekelompok Pecinta Alam pada tahun 2005 di gunung ungaran juga mendapatkan bukti berupa gua sarang harimau di lereng terjal yang penuh dengan goresan cakar harimau pada batu di dasar pintu masuk gua.

Meskipun dinyatakan punah namun harimau jawa masih sering menampakkan diri di hadapan para pendaki gunung. Atau bisa jadi ada kekeliruan persepsi antara harimau jawa dengan macan tutul.

 

Tiger is the largest member of the cat family. Tigers belong to the genus Panthera in the cat family, Felidae. All tigers are of the same species, P. tigris. People admire the tiger for its strength and beauty, but they also fear it because it has been known to kill and occasionally eat people. Yet wild tigers prefer to avoid human beings. Tigers that kill and eat people are most often sick or wounded animals that can no longer hunt their natural prey. A hungry tiger may also attack people if prey is extremely scarce.

Wild tigers are found in Sumatera, while tiger in Java and Bali is extinct. Tigers can live in almost any climate. They need only shade, water, and food. Tigers are found in the rain forests of Thailand; the hot, dry thorn woods of India; and the cold, snowy, spruce forests of Siberia. Tigers also live in mangrove swamps, marshes, and tall grasslands. In general, tigers like to be in shade. They seldom go into the open plains as lions do.

Most adult male tigers weigh about 420 pounds (190 kilograms) and are 9 feet (2.7 meters) long, including a 3-foot (0.9-meter) tail. Most adult tigresses (females) weigh about 300 pounds (140 kilograms) and are 8 feet (2.4 meters) long. The tiger's coat ranges from brownish-yellow to orange-red and is marked by black stripes. Each tiger has a unique stripe pattern, which is as distinctive as a human fingerprint. The fur on the throat, belly, and insides of the legs is whitish. Many tigers, especially the males, have a ruff of hair around the sides of the face. The tigers that live in Siberia, where winters are bitterly cold, have shaggy winter coats.

Some tigers have chalk-white fur with chocolate-brown or black stripes. These tigers, called white tigers, are also distinctive because they have blue eyes. All other tigers have yellow eyes. White tigers are very rare in the wild. More than 100 white tigers live in the world's zoos. They are all descendants of a white cub caught in India in 1951. A normal-colored tigress can give birth to a litter in which some of the cubs are white.

Tigers and lions look similar except for the color and length of their hair. The two species have even mated in zoos and produced offspring called ligers or tigons.

Tigers hunt large mammals, such as deer, antelope, wild cattle, and wild pigs. They may even attack young rhinoceroses and elephants. They also catch such small animals as peafowl, monkeys, and frogs. At times, tigers attack porcupines, but the porcupine's quills may stick in the tiger's face and body, causing painful wounds. In many parts of Asia, tigers prey on domestic cattle and water buffalo, especially where hunters have greatly reduced the amount of wildlife.

The tiger usually hunts at night, wandering along animal trails and dry stream beds. A tiger depends chiefly on its sharp vision and keen hearing, but it may also use its sense of smell. After stalking closely or waiting in cover, the tiger rushes at its prey in several bounds. Using its sharp claws, the tiger grasps the victim by the rump or upper body and pulls it down. Its large canine teeth are well suited for holding prey and for killing it.

Tigers are extremely swift for short distances. However, if a tiger fails to catch its prey quickly, it usually will give up because it soon tires. As long as a week may go by without a successful hunt. After a kill, the tiger drags the carcass (dead body) to thick cover. The tiger's neck, shoulders, and forelegs are very powerful. A tiger may drag the body of a 500-pound (230-kilogram) water buffalo for 1/4 mile (0.4 kilometer). The tiger stays near the carcass until it has eaten everything except the large bones and stomach. A tiger may eat at least 50 pounds (23 kilograms) of meat in a night. A tiger often takes a long drink of water and a nap after a meal.

Adult tigers usually live alone but are not unfriendly with one another. Two tigers may meet on their nightly rounds, rub heads in greeting, and then part. Several may share in eating a killed prey.

Adult males often claim their own territory and try to keep other males out. In areas with abundant prey, such territories may average about 20 square miles (52 square kilometers). The male tiger marks trees in his territory with his scent and urine. The scent tells other tigers that the territory is occupied. A male's territory overlaps the territories of two or more females. Female territories are smaller than a male's. Each tiger wanders alone, but they communicate with each other. In addition to scent, they communicate with sounds, including a roar that can be heard for up to 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) or more. Some tigers do not have territories and travel widely.

A tigress usually bears her first cubs when she is 3 1/2 to 4 years old. She carries the young within her body for about 3 1/2 months. She then gives birth to from one to six cubs, though usually two or three. Newborn cubs are helpless and weigh about 2 to 3 pounds (0.9 to 1.4 kilograms). Tiger cubs, like kittens, are playful. They are wholly dependent on their mother for food until they are about a year old. Even then, they cannot kill a large animal. Cubs become fully independent at about 2 years old. Female cubs then often settle down in a territory near their mother. Males tend to roam far from their birthplace. Tigers live up to 20 years in the wild. Tigers are good swimmers. They may swim across rivers or between islands. On hot days, they may cool off in water. Tigers can climb trees but usually do not.

People have greatly reduced the number of tigers by killing them and by clearing the forests in which they lived. Scientists generally recognize eight varieties of tigers. Of these, three varieties are now extinct and three others-the South China tiger, the Sumatran tiger, and the Amur, or Siberian, tiger-are critically endangered. Several countries, especially India and Nepal, protect tigers in nature reserves. The survival of wild tigers depends on such efforts.

Tigers are easy to breed and raise in zoos. Cubs are popular with zoo visitors. Adult tigers are often trained to perform in circuses. They jump through hoops and are even ridden. Today, enough tigers are born in captivity that no more need to be captured for zoos.

The Javan tiger (Panthera tigris sondaica) is an extinct tiger subspecies. It inhabited the Indonesian island of Java until the 1980s and was one of the three subspecies limited to islands.

Javan tigers were very small compared to other subspecies of the Asian mainland, but larger in size than Bali tigers. Males weighed between 100 and 140 kg (220 and 310 lb) on average with a body length of 200 to 245 cm (6.6 to 8.04 ft). Females were smaller than males and weighed between 75 and 115 kg (170 and 250 lb) on average. Their nose was long and narrow, occipital plane remarkably narrow and carnassials relatively long. They usually had long and thin stripes, which were slightly more numerous than of the Sumatran Tiger.

The smaller body size of the Javan Tiger is attributed to Bergmannís rule and the size of the available prey species in Java, which are smaller than the cervid and bovid species distributed on the Asian mainland. However, the diameter of their tracks are larger than of Bengal Tiger in Bangladesh, India and Nepal.

At the end of the 18th century tigers inhabited most of Java. Around 1850, the people living in the rural areas still considered them a plague. Until 1940, tigers had retreated to remote mountainous and forested areas. Around 1970, the only known tigers lived in the region of Mount Betiri, the highest mountain (1,192 metres (3,911 ft)) in Java's southeast, which hadnít been settled due to the rugged and slopy terrain. In 1972, the 500 km2 area was gazetted as wildlife reserve. The last tigers were sighted there in 1976.

They preyed on rusa deer, banteng and wild boar, less often on water fowl and reptiles. Nothing is known about their gestation period, life span in the wild and in captivity. Up to World War II Javan tigers were kept in some Indonesian zoos, but these were closed down during the war. After the war, Javan Tiger were so rare already that it was easier to obtain Sumatran tigers.

At the beginning of the 20th century 28 million people lived on the island of Java. The annual production of rice was insufficient to adequately supply the growing human population, so that within 15 years 150% more land was cleared for cultivating rice. In 1938 natural forest covered 23% of the island. 1975 only 8% forest stand remained; the human population had increased to 85 million people.[4] In this human-dominated landscape the extirpation of the Javan Tiger was a process intensified by the conjunction of several circumstances and events:

Tigers and their prey were poisoned in many places during the period when their habitat was rapidly being reduced; Natural forests were increasingly fragmented after World War II for plantations of teak, coffee and rubber, which was unsuitable habitat for wildlife; Rusa deer, the tiger's most important prey species, was lost to disease in several reserves and forests during the 1960s; During the period of civil unrest after 1965 armed groups retreated to reserves, where they killed the remaining tigers.

 

- Ekologi Jawa dan Bali terbitan Prenhallindo.
- The Indonesian Environment Almanac terbitan PT. Multi Kirana Pratama.
- Mari Mengenal Taman Nasional di Jawa Timur terbitan Galeri Wacana.
- Panduan Satwa KRKB Gembira loka
- Mengenal Taman Nasional Gede Pangrango terbitan TNGP.
- World Book Multimedia Encyclo pedia penerbit IBM
- TropenMuseum - Belanda
- Wikipedia.org

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Until the mid-1960s tigers survived in three protected areas, which had been established during the 1920-1930s: Ujung Kulon, Leuwen Sancang and Baluran. But following the period of civil unrest no tigers were sighted there any more. In 1971 an older female was shot in a plantation near Mount Betiri in the southeast of Java. Since then not a single cub has been recorded in this last known refuge of the big cats. The area was upgraded to a wildlife reserve in 1972, at which time a small guard force was established and four habitat management projects initiated. The reserve was severely disrupted by two large plantations in the major river valleys, occupying the most suitable habitat for the tiger and its prey. In 1976, tracks were found in the eastern part of the reserve, suggesting the presence of 3-5 tigers. Only a few banteng survived close to the plantations, but tracks of rusa deer, the preferred prey of the Javan tiger, were not sighted.

After 1979, there were no more confirmed sightings of tigers in Meru Betiri. In 1980, Seidensticker and Suyono recommended extending the wildlife reserve and completely eliminating the disruptive influence of humans on the fragile ecosystem. The Indonesian Nature Conservation Authority implemented these recommendations in 1982 by gazetting the reserve as a national park. These measures were however too late to save the few remaining tigers in the region.

In 1987, a group of 30 students of the Indonesian Agricultural University of Bogor (Institut Pertanian Bogor) conducted an expedition to Meru Betiri National Park. In groups of five they searched the complete area and found tiger scat and tracks.

In the West of Java lies the Halimun Reserve, today integrated into the Mount Halimun Salak National Park. In 1984, a tiger was killed there; and in 1989, pugmarks were found that were the size of a tigerís. However, an expedition of six biologists conducted in 1990 did not yield any definite, direct evidence for the existence of tigers.

A subsequent survey was planned in the Meru Betiri National Park in autumn 1992 with the support of WWF Indonesia, deploying camera traps for the first time. From March 1993 to March 1994 cameras were positioned at 19 sites, which did not yield a single picture of a tiger. During this period, no tracks indicating the presence of tigers were discovered. After the final report of this survey had been published, the Javan tiger was declared extinct.

Rumours and indications of the possible presence of tigers in the Meru Betiri National Park prompted the parkís Chief Warden Bapak Indra Arinal to initiate another search. With support of the Sumatran Tiger Project, twelve members of the park staff were trained in autumn 1999 to set up camera traps and map their observations. The Canadian The Tiger Foundation provided infrared cameras. Despite a year of work, they photographed no tigers, few prey, and lots of poachers.[

Occasional reports still surface of enthusiasts who believe that the tiger still exists in Java.

Despite the continuing claims of sightings it is far more likely that, even with full protection and in reserve areas, the Javan tiger has been extirpated. The 'tigers' are quite likely to be leopards seen from a distance.

In November 2008, an unidentified body of a female mountain hiker was found in Mount Merbabu National Park, Central Java, allegedly died from tiger attack. Villagers who discovered the body have also claimed some tiger sightings in the vicinity.

Another alleged sighting occurred in Magetan Regency, East Java, in January 2009. Some villagers claimed to have seen a tigress with two cubs wandering near a village adjacent to Lawu Mountain. This news triggered mass panic. Local authorities found several fresh tracks in the location. However, by that time, those animals had already vanished.

Following the October 2010 eruption of Mount Merapi, two Indonesian villagers have claimed sightings of a big cat paw print in the residual ash, which sparked rumours a tiger or leopard was roaming abandoned farms in search for food. Personnel of the near-by national park did not think it likely that this paw print was a tiger's.

 

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