Leaf Monkey Population in Mount Slamet is Threatened
YOGYAKARTA - Rekrekan (Presbytis fredericae) or leaf monkey is one of endemic leaf-eating primates in Mount Slamet region, whose habitat is increasingly threatened. In fact, in Java, the primate lives in areas limited to isolated forest areas, such as Mount Slamet, Mount Cupu-Simembut, Mount Dieng, and Mount Lawu.
Rekrekan in Mount Slamet lived on an area of 33,230 ha while the unused area is 24,737 ha. Due to limited mountainous forest area, the increasing development of settlement, plantation, and agriculture in Java, Rekrekan’s habitat in the forest of Mount Slamet becomes more threatened than others.
At Mount Slamet, Rekrekan is mostly found in steep slopes. Slopes help Rekrekan avoid predators and have a broader view. Therefore, many Rekrekans are found at altitudes above 600 meters above sea level. "The height of 1,100-1,300 meters above sea level is the place where Rekrekan is commonly found, because at that height, the feed is varied," Abdi Fitria, S.Hut, M.P said, in the promotion of doctoral exam at Faculty of Forestry, Saturday (23/6).
At Mount Slamet on the slope at 35-40 degrees, many Rekrekans are commonly found the number of which reacehs 28 groups and 131 individuals. Meanwhile, on the slope of 25-35 degrees there are 9 groups and 43 individuals.
Forest condition in the area has undergone much land conversion from forest to non-forest area. The existence of primary forest with a canopy and broad covering greatly affects the existence and the spread of this primate. "There are 8 groups with 68 individuals in the area of primary forest that are found," he said.
Primary forest becomes important for Rekrekan because of the availability of natural food that is specific to Rekrekan, allowing Rekrekan to multiply and reproduce offspring. "The extent of land clearing will force the Rekrekan’s habitat and will decrease the Rekrekan’s population," he said.
Abdi’s research showed Rekrekan is a group of primates that has a social system by forming small groups related to finding feed. "There has never been a system of switching between Rekrekan group members, especially among female individuals," he said.
The more unique, adult male and female individuals will leave the group and form their own group to avoid competition between males and to obtain higher quality food resources.
Abdi proposed the need for socio-economic improvement and community participation in forest protection and conservation efforts through ecotourism and edu-tourism. But another important thing, Abdi said, is to improve the area status and habitat development activities so that Mount Slamet’s ecosystem remains stable.