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Home » Bitung » The Tarsius, Babirusa, and other Sulawesi Strange Endemic Animals

The Tarsius, Babirusa, and other Sulawesi Strange Endemic Animals

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  1. Bitung

    Fotografer: Setiadi Darmawan
  2. Bitung2

    Fotografer: Setiadi Darmawan
  3. Bitung3

    Fotografer: Setiadi Darmawan



Renowned British biologist  Alfred Russel Wallace was obsessed with the maleo bird and the babirusa boar when he visited Tangkoko Nature Reserive  near the  town of Bitung in North Sulawesi. He was researching the fauna in a number of countries including in the Indonesian islands


in his study regarding the spread of different animals across the world. Wallace concluded that there were different zones in  kinds of endemic species  and  for this reason he drew a separating line which was later called the Wallace Line, that separates Asian from Australian fauna.


The Wallace Line stretches from the south  between the islands of Bali and Lombok , then up north passing between the islands of Kalimantan (Borneo) and Sulawesi (Celebes), then east to the  south of the Philippines, all the way  to  north of Hawaii. The Wallace line marks the separation of two separate zoological zones in the world : these are Asian and Australian. Later scientist, Max Weber,  improved the theory by drawing another line east of Sulawesi, in what is now known as the Weber Line.


The western zone that comprises the islands of  Sumatra, Kalimantan, Java and Bali is known as the Greater Sunda, that has similar fauna as  those found on the Asian continent, while the eastern side that comprises Aru, Papua and Australia is called the Sahul zone.


In zoography, the islands of Sulawesi and the Nusa Tenggara Islands, however, posses the most unique animals since this is a transition area between the two major zones. The Komodo lizard in East Nusatenggara has already captured the attention of the whole world, but the animals in Sulawesi are no less unique.   


The Anoa

The Anoa resembles a water buffalo but is  much smaller so that it is also known as the small buffalo. Its size is only slightly larger than a goat. The anoa is now an endangered species as its numbers decrease year by year. At present only  some 5,000 are believed to be in existence. There are two species of anoas, namely those living in the lowlands (Bubalus depressicornis), and those in the highlands (Bubalus quarlesi), both can be distinguished by their body and the size of the horns.  These animals are constantly on the move, When attacked, the anoa defends itself by  diving into the swamps and when needed will fight with its horns. 


The Babirusa wild boar

This is a wild boar species found in Sulawesi and  the surrounding islands of Togean, Malenge, Sula and Buru. Different from the average wild boar, the babirusa has very long tusks that pierce its mouthbarrel then curves up almost touching its eyes. The Babirusa eats fruits and only hunts at night to avoid its attackers. It is a shy animal so that it avoids humans, yet when it feels disturbed then   the babirusa can be very fierce.


The Maleo bird

At a glance the Maleo bird looks like a cockerel but has a black and white crest. Although included as a bird species the Maleo does not fly but prefers to walk just like chickens.  Its crowining glory its crest  is uniqueto the Maleo and is believed to function to seek heat for its habitat and for hatching. 

The Maleo bird lives near warm beaches or in areas that have hot water springs. The maleo needs heat to hatch its eggs, since it leaves its eggs only buried in the sand.  To dig into the sand the maleo has an extra digit that it requires for digging.  .    


The Kuskus Bear

The Kuskus bear is a marsupial that grows larger than the average kuskus, amd therfore,  resembles a bear. Its body height height is 56 cm , has  a long tail of 54 cm, having a total weight of around 8 kg. The kuskus bear is a quiet anmial making hardly any sound except when disturbed. The Kukus bear is active during the day, while most of the time it  prefers to sleep and rest,  actove only a little time to eat leaves and fruits.


The Black Macaque

The black macaque of Sulawesi called  is the wolai ape or yaki by the local population. Its habitat is found only in north Sulawesi and some smaller islands around.  This endemic animal has a completely black body, with a tuft on its head.  Like other primates living in the forests,  the macaques eat leaves, nuts, flowers, tubers, some kinds of insects, molluscs and snakes. The macaques live in highlands of more than 2,000 meters above sea level. They  love primary forests as habitat and to for their food. Besides swinging around in the trees the black macaques often walk on the ground.  


The Tarsius

The smallest primate in the world, Tarisus Tarsier has been made the icon of the province of North Sulawesi, Its size is only between  10-15 cm, weighing around 80 grams, and can easily fit in the palm of your hand. Its distinguishing eyes have a diameter of 16 mm which take up the larger part of its skull. Tarsius has long legs and it is because of these that it has been named Tarsius. It has soft fur almost like velvet, brown grey, light brown or light orange in color. 


The Tarsius belong to the insektivora as they eat insects by jumping on their prey. Tarsiers can even catch a bird in flight. This nocturnal animal is very faithful. It only has one mate through life,and even when its mate dies, the remaining tarsius will not take another mate throughout its entire lifespan.

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The Tarsius, Babirusa, and other Sulawesi Strange Endemic Animals

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