Bubalus quarlesi 

Scope: Global
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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Bovidae

Scientific Name: Bubalus quarlesi
Species Authority: (Ouwens, 1910)
Common Name(s):
English Mountain Anoa
French Anoa des montagnes, Anoa de quarle
Spanish Anoa de Montaña
Taxonomic Notes: There is still debate about whether Lowland Anoa (Bubalus depressicornis) and Mountain Anoa (Bubalus quarlesi) are distinct species (Burton et al. 2005). Two phenotypes of Anoa, characterized by body size, hair texture, horn shape, and body colours have been used by certain authors to justify the existence of two species. However, transitory morphs suggest that the real relationships are more complex, and poorly understood. For example several individuals photographed in zoos show a range of features considered diagnostic for the 2 species observed in single individuals as they grow to maturity (Mustari pers.comm.).  Sulawesi is a rather small territory, albeit geographically complex, so the speciation patterns of a large mammal pose a riddle to systematists. An enormous underlying variability (outward appearance, anatomy, chromosomes, proteins, DNA) has hitherto precluded a convincing classification, or has questioned the validity of an approach to group Anoa diversity into clear, reproducible types. Pattern-based classifications of zoo and museum specimens, most of which are devoid of reliable information as to their origin within Sulawesi, have always suffered from the later discovery of phenotypes with new combinations of supposedly diagnostic species characters.

Populations or individuals with combinations of features associated with one or other phenotype probably do not represent "hybrids" of two species, but various degrees of genetic introgression, or even primary clines of diverging evolutionary lineages, and they could perhaps differ in different regions of Sulawesi, depending on the degree of gene flow, and the characters affected. Given the ongoing uncertainty, every regional Anoa population should be considered worthy of conservation. The management units should at least be based on known origins from within Sulawesi, rather than on taxonomic schemes, which in the past have often proved incomplete. This has been the approach taken by the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry in publishing the National Strategy and Conservation Action Plan for Anoa 2013-2022 (2013).

The English common names of the two species relate to a still uncertain altitudinal separation (Groves 1969), with the large form (Lowland Anoa) purportedly inhabiting low-lying areas and the smaller form (Mountain Anoa) living at higher elevations (Burton et al. 2005).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered C1+2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-04-21
Assessor(s): Burton, J., Wheeler, P. & Mustari, A.
Reviewer(s): Meijaard, E.
Contributor(s): Semiadi, G. & Schreiber, A.
Justification:
This species is considered Endangered because it is thought that there are fewer than 2,500 mature individuals and the overall rate of decline, based on distribution surveys and questionnaires, is thought to be 20% over two generations (generation length of 7 to 9 years). There have been declines of this species throughout Sulawesi, especially in the southern and northeastern peninsulas, with the decline attributed to hunting for meat and habitat loss. Most populations are becoming rapidly fragmented, suggesting that conservation of viable populations may soon require management of metapopulations. It is thought no subpopulation exceeds 250 mature individuals. The current status of the species is consequently a matter for concern because even the subpopulations in large protected areas (e.g., Lore Lindu National Park) and other large forest blocks are reported to be in decline as a result of heavy hunting pressure.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to Indonesia, where it is found only on Sulawesi and Buton Island off the southeast coast, with no records of either species of Anoas from other small neighbouring islands adjacent to Sulawesi (Burton et al. 2005). This species has been typically recorded from 1,000 to 2,300 m, but can be found at near sea level (National Research Council 1983, Sugiharta 1994, G. Semiadi pers. comm. 2006). It remains uncertain whether the two putative species, Bubalus depressicornis and Bubalus quarlesi, are sympatric or parapatric in their distribution (Burton et al. 2005). Across Sulawesi, local distribution of Anoa species remains unclear, as they may occur in forest patches at different altitudes or sympatrically (Burton et al. 2005). Records of skulls and morphological descriptions of this species recently could only confirm that it was present across most of the Central region of Sulawesi and in the north of Buton Island (Burton et al. 2005). However, slightly earlier reports suggest the Mountain Anoa also occurs in the north peninsula and part way along the southeastern peninsula (Groves 1969). Both of these areas still sustain Anoa populations, so these may include populations of Mountain Anoa. Identifying Mountain Anoa, and therefore their range, is made difficult by the fact that many of their distinguishing features are shared by young Lowland Anoa. Historically, Anoas of one species or other were present throughout the majority of the island’s forests (Weber 1890, Sarasin and Sarasin 1901, Mohr 1921, Harper 1945, Groves 1969, Burton et al. 2005).
Countries occurrence:
Native:
Indonesia (Sulawesi)
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):2300
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Too few data exist to precisely quantify the current abundance of Mountain Anoa. Nevertheless, Anoa still appear to be distributed relatively widely within their known current range on Sulawesi. However, there is little doubt that they have been in decline (i.e., there has been a decrease in their range and abundance) since the end of the 19th century. They have declined over the 1980 to 2000 period (ca. three generations), precipitously in some areas. The population size is unknown because there have been no island-wide  or regional surveys which have attempted to estimate this, even for the largest populations. Estimating the population size is further complicated by the uncertain distribution of the two Anoa species. It is thought that there are fewer than 2,500 mature individuals. There have been declines of this species throughout Sulawesi, especially in the southern and northeastern peninsulas, with the decline attributed to hunting for meat and habitat loss (Indonesian Ministry of Forestry 2013, Burton et al. 2005). Most populations are becoming rapidly fragmented, suggesting that conservation of viable populations may soon require management of metapopulations (Burton et al. 2005). It is thought no subpopulation exceeds 250 mature individuals. The current status of the species is consequently a matter for concern because even the subpopulations in large protected areas (e.g., Lore Lindu National Park) and other large forest blocks are reported to be in decline as a result of heavy hunting pressure. There are two areas where the declines have been most serious, Gorontalo and Buol Toli-Toli (G. Semiadi pers. comm. 2006). Overall, the rate of decline is not well known, however, based on distribution surveys and questionnaires, the range of this species is retreating to the central parts of forested areas. The rate of population decline across their range is thought to be 20% over two generations (generation length of 7 to 9 years).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:0-2500Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:No
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:There is very little is known about the ecology and life history of the Anoas (Burton et al. 2005). This species is typically found in dense forest as opposed to more open subalpine habitats, and prefers habitats with dense understory vegetation (Foead 1992, Sugiharta 1994, G. Semiadi pers. comm. 2006). Mountain Anoas typically live near abundant water sources in areas with low human activity (Sugiharta 1994), and in the past there are records at sea level. Like other wild buffalo, Anoas wallow and bathe in pools of water and/or mud. It is probable that mineral springs or licks are also required, although Anoa are reported to drink seawater, which might fulfil their mineral needs in areas without licks or springs. The species is solitary and is a browser, feeding on grasses and other vegetation (Whitten et al. 1987, Foead 1992). The typical life span in captivity is reported to be 20 to 30 years, with age at sexual maturity at 2 to 3 years old (in captivity), with typically one offspring per year (NRC 1983, Jahja 1987), though in wild conditions this may be less.
Systems:Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Hunting for food is considered to be a threat to this species. There is also a trade in live animals and in body parts (presumably for medicine), but this is not thought to constitute a threat.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The two major threats to this species are hunting, for food, and habitat degradation (Burton et al. 2005) due to agriculture, mining (gold mining) (G. Semiadi and D. Gunaryadi pers. comm. 2006). Illegal international trade in live animals or body parts is not thought to present a serious threat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed in CITES under Appendix I, and fully protected under Indonesian law (Jahja 1987, Burton et al. 2005). Mountain anoa occur in a number of protected areas. There are several key protected areas thought to hold significant populations of this species, including Lore Lindu National Park, Bogani Nani-Wartabone National Park, and Tanjung Peropa Nature Reserve on Sulawesi (Indonesian Ministry of Forestry 2013, Burton et al. 2005). In 2013 the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry published a Strategy and Conservation Action Plan for Anoa 2013-2022.  The vision of this plan is 'a stable population of anoa in its wild habitat through reduced poaching (hunting) and illegal trade, maintainance of the existing habitat, through active involvement of the stakeholders'. A series of high priority sites for in situ conservation of anoa have been identified, 11 in mainland Sulawesi and two in Buton (Indonesian Ministry of Forestry 2013). These sites were selected based on a) representation of known subpopulations, extent of forest cover and connectivity between forested areas and status of management of area (whether sites were national parks, protected forests, restoration concessions). The plan also identifies protection from hunting, prevention of habitat loss, determining population status, education and training, and developing partnerships as important areas for future activities. It is too early to determine the impact of this new initiative. There is also on-going genetic and morphological research that aims to clarify the confusion that surrounds anoa systematics. A small number of Mountain Anoa are in captivity, but the breeding program has been greatly hindered by the difficulties of assigning captive anoa to appropriate taxa. The captive population has 2 males in Europe and possible further individuals in Indonesian zoos, although the taxonomic status of most individuals remains uncertain (Nötzold 2013).

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
3. Species management -> 3.4. Ex-situ conservation -> 3.4.1. Captive breeding/artificial propagation
4. Education & awareness -> 4.1. Formal education
4. Education & awareness -> 4.2. Training
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.1. International level
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.2. National level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.2. National level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.3. Sub-national level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:Yes
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:Yes
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.1. Shifting agriculture
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.2. Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Causing/Could cause fluctuations ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

3. Energy production & mining -> 3.2. Mining & quarrying
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 6 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

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Burton, J.A. and Macdonald, A.A. 2009. Variation in distribution and abundance of large mammals in Lore Lindu National park, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia . Malayan Nature Journal: 61(4), 273 – 283. 61(4): 273 – 283.

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Citation: Burton, J., Wheeler, P. & Mustari, A. 2016. Bubalus quarlesi. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T3128A46364433. . Downloaded on 25 September 2016.
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