Babyrousa togeanensis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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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, Malenge Babirusa, Togian Babirusa
French Babiroussa de l'île Togian, Babiroussa des Togian
Spanish Babirusa de Togian
Babirussa babyrussa ssp. togeanensis Sody, 1949
Babyrousa babyrussa ssp. togeanensis (Sody, 1949)
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.  A large taxonomic study based on skull and tooth morphology as well as molecular genetic analyses is close to completion.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii,v); C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-02-26
Assessor(s): Macdonald, A., Leus, K., Masaaki, I. & Burton, J.
Reviewer(s): Meijaard, E.
Listed as Endangered because its extent of occurrence is less than 1,000 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.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

Babyrousa togeanensis is confined to the Togian Archipelago in Indonesia, in the Gulf of Tomini between the northern and eastern Sulawesi peninsulas (Macdonald 1993). Babirusas are found on the islands Batudaka, Togean, Talatakoh and Malenge (Ito 2008, Ito et al. 2005, 2008; Akbar et al. 2007). Local people report Babirusa crossing the straits between Malenge, Togian and Talatakoh (Selmier 1983, Akbar et al. 2007, Ito 2008). Occasionally, Togian Babirusa can be seen on their satellite islets like Pangempan (Selmier 1983). There are no sightings of Babirusa on Waleakodi, Waleabahi and Una una, possibly due to insufficient water resources (Ito in press).

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

Population [top]


Selmier (1983) estimated that the total 1978 population on the Togian Islands was in the region of 500 to 1,000 individuals. 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 100 to >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).  During a questionnaire survey conducted in 2007, 39.9% of respondents reported a decrease in Babirusa numbers and estimated the population on Malenge Island at less than 100 individuals (Ito 2008).

Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:1000Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Population severely fragmented:Yes
All individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Babirusas generally inhabit tropical rain forest on the banks of rivers and ponds abounding in water plants. On the Togian Islands, Babirusas were also sighted in mixed gardens, coconut plantations, regrowing scrub of former ‘ladang’, secondary forest, village edges, freshwater and mangrove swamps, and other coastal habitats (Akbar et al. 2007).  Togian Islands Babirusas are mainly active in the morning or late afternoon, generally resting in cool places during the hot daytime periods, but they have also been seen active in the daytime, even in cultivated areas if disturbance is low (Selmier 1983, Ito et al. 2005, Akbar et al. 2007) .

In common with most of the other suids, Babirusas are omnivorous and both wild and captive individuals consume a wide variety of leaf, root, fruit and animal matter (invertebrates and small vertebrates). On the Togian Islands their diet also includes a wide variety of cultivated crops such as sweet potato and cassava, mango, jackfruit, mangosteen, papaya, banana, etc. (Selmier 1983, Ito et al. 2005, Akbar et al. 2007, Ito in press, M. Ito pers. obs.). In fact coconut fruit and pangi fruits (Pangium edule) are some of the most important food resources for this species  (Ito in press).

Babirusas 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 prominent rostral bone in the nose (Macdonald 2016). 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 Babirusas 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). Litters count 1-2 offspring and young individuals follow their mother for several months after weaning (Ito 2003, Ito et al. 2005).

Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Hunting for food only occurs in a few non-Muslim village communities.

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, M. 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). Babirusa are currently protected by Indonesian law Act No. 5/1990 Conservation of Living Resources and Their Ecosystems, Undang-undang Republik Indonesia Nomor 5 Tahun 1990 Tentang Konservasi Sumber Daya Alam Hayati Dan Ekosistemnya). In 2013, the Indonesian government released a taxon-specific conservation strategy and action plan (Strategi Dan Rencana Aksi Konservasi Babirusa Tahun 2013-2022) (DKKH 2015). The national action plan identifies all islands where the species currently occurs (Batudaka, Togean, Talatakoh and Malenge) as sites for conservation (DKKH 2015).

Priority areas for monitoring are suggested to be the  eastern part of Batudaka, the central part of Togian and throughout Malenge Islands, due to the threat levels in these locations (Ito in press). 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 336,733 ha of sea and 25,832 ha of land, including all of the habitat of the Togian Island Babirusa ( – accessed 5 June 2008) but much work remains to be done to build awareness and consensus among the local human population about the protected status of the park and sustainable land use and to address this issue of crop damage. 

Citation: Macdonald, A., Leus, K., Masaaki, I. & Burton, J. 2016. Babyrousa togeanensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T136472A44143172. . Downloaded on 25 January 2017.
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