Saving the endangered Timor deer (Cervus timorensis)

In Indonesia, which is considered one of the 17 megadiversity countries and 25 global biodiversity hotspots in the world, there is a call for the conservation of Timor deer. While this species isnot yet extinct, is highly vulnerable and its population continues to decline at an alarming rate. Deforestation, among other biodiversity conservation issues, has affected the population of the Timor deer in the wild. Thus, ex-situ conservation has been forwarded as an option though programs and laws need to be improved to make this a reality.

This was stressed by Mr.Daud Samsudewa, Lecturer of Faculty of Animal Science, Diponegoro University during the SEARCA Graduate Seminar Series held on 24 April 2012.

Samsudewa’s study entitled “The DEER Conservation Program in Indonesia: Saving the Timor Deer (Cervustimorensis)”, analyzed the behavioral characteristics of the Timor Deer and its effects on theincrease in mortality rate, vulnerability, and slow reproduction.

For the conservation program to become sustainable, Samsudewa suggests four major components, namely, creation of Demonstration plot for stock production; Enhancement of research to study its health and reproductive behavior; Extension which can evolve into an eco-tourism project for the community; and Reintroduction of captive species into the wild, hence the acronym DEER.

In support of the DEER conservation program, Samsudewa recommends “legal limitation” for more synchronized policies in protecting the Timor deer. He also suggests “social limitation” so that the communities would be aware of the present condition of the Timor deer and that they might have ideas on how they could help address the problem. (Martha Lois Vallejo)