Tarsius tumpara 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Primates Tarsiidae

Scientific Name: Tarsius tumpara Shekelle, Groves, Merker & Supriatna, 2008
Common Name(s):
English Siau Island Tarsier
Taxonomic Notes:

Meyer (1897) classified a single specimen from Siau Island together with several others from Sangihe Island as Tarsius sangirensis. A biogeographic hypothesis by Shekelle and Leksono (2004) predicted that the Siau specimen would be taxonomically distinct (see also Brandon-Jones et al. 2004). This prediction was subsequently confirmed by Shekelle et al. (2008).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A2acd; B1b(ii,iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-03-30
Assessor(s): Shekelle, M, Salim, A.
Reviewer(s): Merker, S. & Rylands, A.B.

Listed as Critically Endangered because there has been a suspected reduction in population size of at least 80% over the past three generations, based on actual levels of exploitation and on the direct observations by local people living in proximity to the tarsiers, along with declines in the area of occupancy (perhaps as little as 19.4 km²) and quality of habitat. Criterion B is invoked because although a maximum extent of occurrence is 125 km² (based on the size of Siau Island, along with two tiny islets where its presence has not been documented), it is in reality much less than this 100 km², if the cone of the active volcano is excluded.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

The species is found only on Siau Island (Indonesia), although it is conceivable that they are also present on some very small islands that are in close proximity to Siau and separated only by shallow ocean.

Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


Shekelle and Salim (2009a) used remote sensing of remaining habitat and population density estimates from studies of other tarsier taxa to estimate the remaining population as being 1,358–12,470 individuals. The large range is a result of a large number of unknown pixels (obscured by clouds) in the GIS data set. Field surveys indicate no remaining primary habitat, however. Local people reported considerable declines of numbers since the late 1990s (Shekelle and Salim 2009b).

Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Tarsius tumpara has not been the subject of systematic study, but it has been surveyed in the wild by a team led by M. Shekelle (Shekelle et al. 2008), and Siau Island was surveyed by Riley (2002). By analogy with other wild Tarsier populations it is expected that this taxon is found in primary (although no tracts of primary forest have been found on Siau Island), secondary and mangrove forests, forest gardens, and a variety of other habitats of varying degrees of human disturbance that provide adequate shrubby cover. Shekelle and Salim (2009b) reported that their surveys found evidence of T. tumpara in only two places; on the shores of a small freshwater pond at the extreme southern end of the of the island, and on a steep cliff face along the east coast road where it runs next to the ocean. Numerous other sites that appeared promising turned up no evidence of the presence of tarsiers. There are reports that they can still be found high on the flanks of Mt Karengetang, near the caldera.

Tarsius tumpara is phylogenetically linked to other Eastern Tarsiers, from the Sulawesi biogeographic region. All of the species in this clade live in small, monogamous or polygamous groupings of 2-6. Anecdotal observations of T. tumpara, and those of its likely sister-taxon, T. sangirensis, indicate that these species might sleep in dispersed social groups, particularly in disturbed habitat, and that this might be a response to predation, particularly by humans and human commensals, such as feral cats and dogs. Merker (2006) studied home range size in T. dentatus and found it to vary, depending on the degree of human disturbance, with home range size increasing with the degree of disturbance.

Its diet is mostly large-bodied arthropods, with some small vertebrates.

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is locally hunted for food.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

The primary threat to this taxon is that its range is restricted to one small, volcanic island. The volcano, Mt. Karengentang, is active and dominates more than 50% of its geographical range. This threat is exacerbated by a relatively large human population (311 people/km²) that has converted virtually all of the primary habitat to some form of human use (Shekelle and Salim 2009a, 2009b). In these ways, Tarsius tumpara faces a set of threats similar to those faced by T. sangirensis, but the threats are more acute for T. tumpara: a smaller island, a more active volcano, and higher human population density. Most troubling, however, are numerous credible reports that the local human population regularly eats tarsiers, up to 5-10 animals at a sitting, and that tarsiers have been extirpated from areas where they were common as recently as 10 years ago.

Tarsius tumpara is considered to be one the world’s 25 most endangered primates by the IUCN Species Survival Commission Primate Specialist Group (Shekelle and Salim 2007, 2009b).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no conservation areas or programs on Siau Island. There is virtually no tourism industry on the island, either. There are proposals by local conservation NGOs, in conjunction with local government and International NGOs to remedy these shortcomings.

Citation: Shekelle, M, Salim, A. 2011. Tarsius tumpara. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T179234A7636582. . Downloaded on 23 September 2018.
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