Mittermeier, R.A. & Rylands, A.B. (Primate Red List Authority)
Listed as Data Deficient as this is a newly described species, thus there is not sufficient information to assess it at this time. There do seem to be some threats operating, even though a portion of its extent of occurrence is within a protected area. Further information is needed on distribution and ecology prior to further assessment.
This species is found in western central Sulawesi (Indonesia) in the Lariang River basin near the confluence with its tributary, the Meweh River, and extends as far north as Gimpu. The precise limits of its distribution have yet to be precisely determined, though the eastern boundary is known to be parapatric with that of T. dentatus. Its distribution is likely to be much larger than what is confirmed at present.
Very little is known of the population of this species. Preliminary studies suggest that its population densities and home range sizes are similar to those of Tarsius dentatus (S. Merker unpubl. data).
This is a newly described species and was separated from T. tarsier, thus information has been extrapolated from prior knowledge of both it and T. dentatus.. Based on these assumptions, it should occur in primary, secondary and mangrove forests, forests gardens, and a variety of other habitats of varying degrees of human disturbance that provide adequate shrubby cover (M. Shekelle pers. comm.).
Tarsiers show extreme adaptations for vertical clinging and leaping (VCL) in the understory of suitable tropical habitats, often 2 meters or less from the ground. Nocturnal, social primates, they likely live in small, monogamous or polygamous groupings of 2-7. Their diet is 100% live animal prey, mostly insects with some small vertebrates (M. Shekelle pers. comm.).
Although this is a newly described taxon, by analogy with other taxa major threats can be extrapolated to be habitat loss and illegal logging, with lesser threats including agricultural pesticides, and predation by domestic animals (dogs and cats). In addition, some animals may be entering the pet trade. There has been extensive loss of habitat; however, the species has some tolerance to forest conversion. A crucial unknown variable in determining how critical the threats to this species are is its elevational distribution. GIS data indicate that large areas of quality forested habitat remain at higher elevations, but the vertical range of this species is believed to stop somewhere between 1,100-1,500 m, thus rendering a large portion of the best remaining habitat outside the range of this species.
Tarsiers are protected by national law and international treaties, including CITES Appendix II. Many portions of the range of this taxon are protected and indeed it occurs in at least one national park (Lore Lindu); however, there needs to be improved management of the currently protected areas to ensure the ongoing survival of the species. Public education to overcome the misconception that tarsiers are crop pests would be a step forward in improving conservation measures for the species. In fact the species might actually be beneficial to crops, as they eat, and may even have a dietary preference for, some of the real crop pests such as large grasshoppers.