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Babyrousa babyrussa

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA CETARTIODACTYLA SUIDAE

Scientific Name: Babyrousa babyrussa
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s):
English Hairy Babirusa, Buru Babirusa, Babirusa, Deer Hog, Babiroussa
Synonym(s):
Babyrousa alfurus (Lesson, 1827)
Babyrousa babirousa (Jardine, 1836)
Babyrousa babirusa (Guillemard, 1889)
Babyrousa babirussa (Quoy & Gaimard, 1830)
Babyrousa frosti (Thomas, 1920)
Babyrousa indicus (Kerr, 1792)
Babyrousa orientalis (Brisson, 1762)
Babyrousa quadricornua Perry, 1811
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 individuals occurring on Sulawesi, Muna, Buton and Lembeh are treated as Babyrousa celebensis. Preliminary investigations hint at a possible closer affinity of central Sulawesi individuals with Babyrousa babyrussa, but further anatomical as well as genetic studies are necessary and are being conducted to confirm or refute this.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(iii) 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 Vulnerable as the species has a restricted distribution (extent of occurrence less than 20,000 km²), limited to two of the Sula Islands and Buru. Moreover this species has declined in the past largely because of habitat loss through logging and conversion, and to some extent through hunting by non-muslim communities. At least some level of decline in habitat quality and number of mature individuals can be expected to continue.
History:
1996 Vulnerable (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Vulnerable (Groombridge 1994)
1990 Vulnerable (IUCN 1990)
1988 Vulnerable (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
1986 Vulnerable (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: >B. babyrussa occurs on two of the Sula Islands (Mangole and Taliabu) and on Buru (Macdonald, 1993) in Indonesia. The species is reported to be extinct on Sulabesi (formerly Sanana) (Sol unpublished, 1986).
Countries:
Native:
Indonesia
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The current population status of B. babyrussa is unknown. Although the forests in the northern portions of Buru have been degraded and cleared in the coastal lowlands, two large, contiguous, remaining forest blocks remain and current threats to the forest appear low (Wikramanayake et al., 2001). Most of Taliabu, the largest of the Sula Islands, is still forested, but there has been large-scale logging in the lowlands. Mangole, the other Sula island with babirusa, has been heavily degraded (Wikramanayake et al., 2001). Babirusa continue to be hunted for meat by local non-muslim village communities in some areas.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Little is known about the habitat and ecology of the B. babyrussa specifically, but it is assumed that this is very similar than that of B. celebensis. Babirusa inhabit tropical rain forest on the banks of rivers and ponds abounding in water plants. 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). At least on Sulawesi they visit volcanic salt licks and drink the water and ingest the soil (Clayton, 1996; Leus et al., 2002), so this might also be the case with B. babyrussa. 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.

Specific data are lacking for B. babyrussa, but in northern Sulawesi groups or troops of up to 13 individuals of B. celebensis have been observed in rainforest, especially around water, communal wallowing areas and salt licks (Patry et al., 1995; Clayton, 1996). Older adult males were often observed singly and most groups were composed of five or fewer animals, the majority of which were females with young animals.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Large-scale commercial logging operations have posed a major threat to this species (Smiet 1982). Current threats to the remaining Buru rainforests are low and the conservation outlook is relatively stable, but remains vulnerable - commercial logging and shifting cultivation are the primary threats (Wikramanayake et al., 2001). Babirusa continue to be hunted for meat in some places by local non-Muslim village communities.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The babirusa was 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).

There are two protected areas in the remaining Buru rainforest, Gunung Kelpat Muda (1380 km²) and Waeapo (50 km²), and one on Taliabu, Pulau Taliabu (700 km²) (Wikramanayake et al., 2001). Gunung Kelpat Muda, to the west-central part of the island. has the additional advantage of continuing to be an animal sanctuary according to local custom (Macdonald unpublished, 2008).

Citation: Macdonald, A.A., Burton, J. & Leus, K. 2008. Babyrousa babyrussa. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 25 July 2014.
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