Indonesia has a variety of animals in each region. One of the animals in Indonesia is Tarsius. Tarsius is one of the endemic animals of Sulawesi Island with a mini size and is the smallest primate in the world. The size is no more than the grip of an adult’s hand. With such a small body size, male tarsiers have a head circumference of about 85 mm, a body length of no more than 160 mm, and uniquely have a tail length of between 135-275 mm or almost double its body length.
Sulawesi Island itself is a paradise for tarsiers. There are 11 types of tarsiers, namely T. tarsier, T. fuscus, T. sangirensis, T. pumilus, T. dentatus, T. pelengensis, T. ranang, T. tumpara, and T. wallacei. There are also two other species of tarsiers found in May 2017, namely Tarsius spectrumgurskyae and Tarsius supriatnai.
The tarsier’s habitat is among large trees in the middle of the jungle as a place for him to perch. One of the areas most inhabited by tangkasi, the local language for tarsiers, is the Tangkoko Batuangus Nature Reserve, North Bitung District, Bitung City, North Sulawesi. In a nature reserve covering an area of approximately 8,745 hectares lives the tiny Tarsius tarsier or also known as the Tarsius spectrum.
This type of tarsier is also easy to find at the Tandurusa Wildlife Reserve in Aer Tembaga, which is still in the Bitung area, or about three hours’ drive from Manado City. Tarsiers spend a lot of time at the height of big trees.
Tarsiers are also nocturnal animals or very active at night. They start their activities and come out of their nests in banyan trees (Ficus sp) in the afternoon to start exploring their home range. This activity is carried out throughout the night and returns to the nest by early morning. They are so agile before the transition of time from day to night (crespuscular). At these times, the male and female tarsiers will emit a muted sound which is usually called a duet call.
During the day, tarsiers become more passive and spend their time hiding or sleeping. Unlike other mammals, tarsiers sleep clinging to branches. When sleeping, the tarsier can close only one eye and one eye is open. It has large, luminous eyes.
Unlike other nocturnal animals, tarsiers have no light-reflecting areas or tapetum lucidum in their eyes. The tapetum lucidum is a layer located just behind the retina, or in some species it is located inside the retina. This layer reflects light entering through the retina, thereby increasing the amount of light that enters the photoreceptor cells.
With such eye conditions, the ability to see in dark conditions is higher. And that is the specialty of the tarsier, because it makes his vision at night become sharper. The eye of the tarsier is the largest organ of the head, with a diameter of the eyeball up to about 16 mm.
In addition, tarsiers can also turn their head up to 180 degrees in any direction to see their prey, similar to an owl. They also use effective vocalization (voice) to communicate among group members and with individuals from other groups.
Tarsius has thick and fine hair that covers his body. Hair color varies, depending on type, namely dark red, brown, or gray. Tarsius is characterized by white hair behind his ears and gray hair covering his ears.
Even though they are tiny, tarsiers are excellent jumpers. With hind legs twice the length of the body and head, it has the power to jump up to three meters in a vertical jumping pattern. At the bottom of the fingers and toes of the tarsier there are protrusions or pads and allow it to stick to various surfaces when jumping on even slippery surfaces.
Tarsius hunts for prey by jumping towards the prey. With its jumping speed, tarsiers are even able to catch birds in flight. However, tarsiers are insectivores or insect predators. Only sometimes tarsiers also eat small vertebrates, such as small bats, leaf snakes, and lizards.
Tarsiers reproduce by giving birth, after passing a gestation period of six months. Snakes, owls, monitor lizards, and mice are natural predators for tarsiers. These animals are also often hunted by humans to be sold or used as pets. Although it is not known the exact number of tarsiers at this time, rampant hunting by humans has caused the tarsier population to become increasingly rare. Even one of its species, Tarsius pumilus, was declared extinct.
However, in 2013, based on research conducted by researcher Nanda Grow from Texas University, Tarsius pumilus was again found in its habitat in the forest area at the foot of Mount Rore Katimbu on the border of Poso Regency and Sigi Regency, Central Sulawesi. The monogamy nature of tarsiers also contributes to the scarcity of these animals in the wild. According to a researcher on rare animals and climate change from the University of Indonesia, Mochamad Indrawan, tarsiers are romantic animals because they only choose one partner. If his partner dies, then he will be single again for the rest of his life.
The government has not stayed silent with the preservation of Sulawesi’s endemic primates. All of these tiny primate species are included in the list of endangered and protected fauna as listed in Law 5/1990 on Conservation and Natural Resources and Ecosystems and Government Regulation number 7 of 1999 concerning the Preservation of Plant and Animal Species. Prison sentences can be imposed on anyone who captures and trades endangered and protected animals such as tarsiers. In addition, international conservation organizations such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) have placed these animals in the vulnerable category. Come on, get other interesting information from Indonesiar.com.