IUCN threat status:

Vulnerable (VU)


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Range Description

The Javan Rusa is believed to be native only to Java and Bali in Indonesia (Corbet and Hill 1992; Heinsohn 2003; Grubb 2005). It has been introduced to many other islands of the Indo-Pacific region (Corbet and Hill 1992; Heinsohn 2003; Grubb 2005). Some introductions apparently took place in antiquity within present-day Indonesia, to the Lesser Sunda islands, Maluku (= Molucca) islands (including Buru and Seram), Sulawesi, and Timor. On Timor, the species inhabits both West Timor (part of Indonesia) and Timor Leste (G. Semiadi pers. comm. 2008, based on 1998 data). Those to Borneo (Kalimantan, Indonesia), New Guinea (where the species occurs in both West Papua, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea), New Britain, the Aru Islands, Mauritius and Réunion, Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia and small islands in Indonesia and off the coast of Australia occurred from the 17th century onwards (Heinsohn 2003; Grubb 2005). Indonesian islands with introduced populations include: Alor, Ambon, Banda, Batjan, Buru, Butung, Flores, Halmahera, Komodo, Lembeh, Lombok, Mangole, Muna, Papua, Sanana, Saparua, Seram, Sulawesi, Sumba, Sumbawa, Taliabu, Ternate, Timor, and Wetar (Wiradteti pers. comm.). Like many large deer, the Javan Rusa is an able swimmer (Kitchener et al. 1990), hindering determination of its native range. The originally introduced population in Borneo is now probably extinct (Payne et al. 1985; G. Semiadi pers. comm. 2008), but in the 1990s soldiers returning from Timor brought some Javan Rusas to at least the Tanah Grgot and Penajam Paser Utara districts in East Kalimantan. Hybridization of Sambar R. unicolor (which occurs naturally in Borneo) with the introduced Javan Rusas has been confirmed from molecular and morphology in one captive herd (221 heads) belonging to the East Kalimantan Province's Animal Husbandry Office at Penajam Paser Utara district (G. Semiadi pers. comm. 2008).

Details of the introduced range and status are highly dispersed. R.J. Safford (pers. comm.) has provided the following for the Indian Ocean islands:

On Mauritius, Javan Rusa is abundant and is a major pest of native forest. Réunion received several introductions from Mauritius; the current population is derived mainly from five batches introduced in 1954. Also seven (individual) red deer Cervus elaphus were introduced from France; the final outcome with the latter (including any hybridization with Javan Rusa which may or may not have occurred) is unknown but nowadays 'deer' are not common on Réunion, although they are still present in a few areas, and are a pest where they occur. Rodrigues holds no Javan Rusa, although there was a failed attempt to introduce them (Cheke and Hume 2008).

An introduction was probably attempted onto Anjouan, in the Comoros, in the 19th century, but Javan Rusa is long extinct there (Louette 2004).

On Madagascar, Javan Rusa was introduced near Périnet (Andasibe) around 1930, survived until at least 1955 but is now extinct, probably having disappeared in the 1960s (Goodman and Benstead 2003: 1172-1173).

The distribution map shows only native populations on Java and Bali, not introduced populations. Introduced populations are not counted as part of this assessment.


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© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

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