Fast Fact Attack – Endangered Species 12: Siau Island Tarsier

Siau Island tarsierDescription
Between becoming a fond favourite at the dinner table of the inhabitants of Siau Island, and sharing their home with a highly active volcano, these adorable little primates have been put on a very sticky wicket.
Bug-eyed, nocturnal, tiny and incredibly shy; they look like a cross between a chinchilla and Gollum – and, just look at those near human hands. The astonishing eyes are twice the weight of its brain and its long ankle bone is designed to allow it to jump distances more than 40 times its own length.
Tarsiers are believed to have been on the island for 40 million years.  40 MILLION YEARS – WOW!  Now the locals are eating them by the dozen and driving them to extinction – shocking!
Forests, mangrove forests and scrubland.
The tarsius tumpara is found only on Siau Island (Indonesia)
What do they eat?
Insects, small vertebrates, lizards and small birds. 
Degradation of habitat by the island peoples, hunting and consumption by the island peoples (5 – 10 in one sitting), volcanic eruptions, pesticides, exotic animal trade and various natural predators (dogs, cats, birds, snakes and sometimes civet). 
Status: Critically Endangered
No conservation programs exist on the island. Steps are being taken by local conservation NGOs, in conjunction with local government and International NGOs , to put this right.

“When I hear of the destruction of a species, I feel just as if all the works of some great writer have perished.” U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt


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