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Babyrousa togeanensis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA CETARTIODACTYLA SUIDAE

Scientific Name: Babyrousa togeanensis
Species Authority: (Sody, 1949)
Common Name(s):
English Togian Islands Babirusa
French Babiroussa
Spanish Babirusa
Taxonomic Notes: Groves (2001) and Meijaard and Groves (2002a ,b) proposed to upgrade the three extant subspecies of Babyrousa to species level: B. celebensis from northern Sulawesi; B. togeanensis from the Togian islands; and B. babyrussa from Buru and the Sula Islands. A single skull from central Sulawesi may or may not represent the species known otherwise only as a subfossil from the southern peninsula, B. bolabatuensis. The taxonomic identity of the individuals from central, eastern and southeastern Sulawesi was left undecided. Until further studies have brought clarity, all animals occurring on Sulawesi, Muna, Buton and Lembeh are treated here as Babyrousa celebensis.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii,v); C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Macdonald, A.A., Burton, J. & Leus, K.
Reviewer(s): Leus, K. & Oliver, W. ( Pig, Peccary & Hippo Red List Authority)
Justification:
Listed as Endangered because its extent of occurrence is less than 5,000 km², its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat; and because its population size is estimated to number fewer than 2,500 mature individuals, there is an observed continuing decline in the number of mature individuals, and no subpopulation contains more than 250 mature individuals.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Babyrousa togeanensis is confined to the Togian Archipelago in Indonesia, between the northern and eastern Sulawesi peninsulas (Macdonald, 1993). Babirusa are found on the islands Batudaka, Togean, Talatakoh and Malenge (Akbar et al., 2007).
Countries:
Native:
Indonesia
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Selmier (1983) estimated that the total 1978 population on the Togian Islands was in the region of 500 to 1,000 individuals. Recent estimates by Ito (pers. comm., 2008) place the upper limit of population size at about 500. Recent estimation from questionnaires showed local residents did not provide agreement on population size (ranges from 1,000), but the interview surveys did suggest that at least between 1995 and 2000 there had not been a sharp population decline (Akbar et al., 2007).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Babirusa generally inhabit tropical rain forest on the banks of rivers and ponds abounding in water plants. On the Togean islands babirusa were also sighted in mixed gardens, regrowing scrub of former ‘ladang’, secondary forest, village edges, freshwater swamps, and beaches (Akbar et al., 2007).

In common with most of the other suids, babirusa are omnivorous and both wild and captive individuals consume a wide variety of leaf, root, fruit and animal matter (invertebrates and small vertebrates). Babyrusa on Sulawesi visit volcanic salt licks and drink the water and ingest the soil (Clayton, 1996; Leus et al., 2002), and so they might also do this on the Togian Islands. Although detailed studies of their diet in the wild still need to be carried out, a review of the available information from the wild combined with studies on the stomachs and digestive abilities of captive animals suggest that from an anatomical/digestive point of view, they are most likely non-ruminant forestomach fermenting frugivores/concentrate selectors (Leus et al., 2004). Their jaws and teeth are reported to be strong enough to crack very hard nuts with ease. However, babirusa do not exhibit the rooting behaviour typical of other suids because of the absence of a rostral bone in the nose. They will probe soft sand as well as wet, muddy places for food.

On the Togian islands troops of up to eleven individuals have been observed (Ito et al, 2005). During interview surveys on the Togian islands, 37% of respondents considered babirusa to be solitary, 29.6% reported them to occur in groups composed of one adult pair with a litter and 29.5% of respondents reported a group size of more than 5 typically composed of an adult males with multiple females and their litters (Akbar et al., 2007).
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Babirusa on the Togian islands are susceptible to habitat loss due to forest clearance and forest fires, to disturbance by humans, occasional hunting by the local people if perceived as a threat to crops and predation by dogs (Ito et al, 2005; Akbar et al., 2007, Ito pers. comm., 2008). Hunting for food only occurs in a few non-Muslim village communities. In 1998 two thirds of Malenge Island’s forest was damaged by fire (due to annual climatic variation). No large animal carcasses were found and babirusa have been seen in several of these localities since, but the fire may have impacted food availability for the species (Ito et al., 2005, Akbar et al. 2006).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: All species of babirusa were accorded full protection under Indonesian law in 1931 (Dammerman, 1950; Setyodirwiryo, 1959). The species has been included on Appendix I of CITES since 1982, although international trade in this species is not thought to be have been an important issue in recent times (Macdonald 1993). The Togian Islands have been designated a Marine National Park since 2004 (Kepulauan Togean), incorporating 336,773 ha of sea and 25,832 ha of land (http://www.dephut.go.id/INFORMASI/TN%20INDO-ENGLISH/tn_index.htm – accessed 5 June 2008).

Citation: Macdonald, A.A., Burton, J. & Leus, K. 2008. Babyrousa togeanensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 21 October 2014.
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