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Tarsier (Tarsius fuscus) Watching at Bantimurung Bulusaraung National Park

Tarsius fuscus, endemic to South Sulawesi. This animal is actively mobile at night, or well-known as nocturnal animal. Photo by Kama Jaya Shagir

That afternoon, right after adzan Maghrib (Muslim’s call of prayer), our four wheel vehicle run through the road that meandered into Karaenta primary forest. After quite a while, approximately 30 minutes from Bantimurung Bulusaraung National Park Office (TN Babul), we were arrived at watching site of Tarsier, The Animal with Big eye.

Not so far away from main road, a local guide was waiting us and showing us the watching site. The site is located in Pattunuang Resort, the smallest management unit of national parks management system.

Parking in the road side of main road, I and the group headed up into watching spot through karst corridor. Bushes and shrubs are everywhere, so we should clear off our path. Meanwhile, the local guide was still busy checking in where exactly the location of the cute little midget perched. We stopped a while, waiting for the local guide sign. Then, not for so long, the guide called us to climb up on karst hill. There is no other way, we had to climb up into that thorny and spiked hill. With extra caution, we stepped up really careful but sure. After a long struggle, finally, we got into the top of the hill.

We sneaked and sometimes hide among bushes and shrubs. Still, we had not meet with this cute midget yet. It is so hard to meet with this species, since it is considered as “shy” animal. The guide tried so hard to call this specific group. Yups, Tarsier is living in a group like any other primates which 1 group can consist of 2 to 5 individuals.

Finally, I saw it approaching flying grasshopper. The guide catch it and get it, but then oops… suddenly it slipped away from the guide’s hand. Wow….. Amazing, Tarsier jumped among branches to approach prey. Not far away, only about fifty centimeters, Tarsier jumped and finally caught a prey. To digest, tarsier is not directly swallowed it, but moved away a little bit to finally eat it. Like I mentioned before, this animal is a prude. With certain and steady move, it jumped from liana to a branch, about 1 to 2 meters long, then it stopped and enjoyed the grasshopper.

One of tarsier unique behavior is that it does not share foods, it moves away while eating. Tarsier really enjoys foods by itself, especially its own hunt. When the night fall, most of its activities are used for searching foods. This animal is a nocturnal species which means active during night. Tarsier home range could reach 20 to 30 meters squares (Badriyah, 2016).

It is really fun to watch this primate activities whom body is only 10-15 centimeters equal to a human adult fist. Tail is longer than body size, 20-27 cm. Body is coated by grayish brown hair. Hence, it is inevitable that local people called it as “Balao cengke” means hunker rat, because they are look-alike from behind.

With its big eyes, Tarsier can clearly see while preying at night. Natural modification and evolution allows tarsier to have ability owl-like eyes. Because of it, peeking eyes to left and right is impossible. Then, what about dangers from both side? Don’t worry because the head can spin 180 degrees. Not only in the left and right side of its body, also they aware with the danger from behind.

One hour spent! And we did not even notice that. We always amazed and excited with Tarsier’s behavior. We met not only one, but five individuals, right away. “This group is a group who living in Karst-stone crevice” Pado said, our local guide while pointing at Karst-stone around us.

I believe not so much people knowing this endemic animal of Sulawesi, even less directly watch it. Aside from the fact that this animal is hard to find, there are no ex-situ conservation efforts. This animal scientific name is Tarsius fuscus. This species is only found in South-Sulawesi. In other region, for example di TWA Tangkoko North-Sulawesi, the species is different. There is 11 kind species of Tarsier in the world and 9 of them can be found in Sulawesi. This animal is among 25 priority animal list of Environment and Forestry Ministry of Republic Indonesia.

Are you interested? Do not hesitate to contact us, your trustful and truthful guide. Let’s knowing and loving more our natural potentials.

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References:

Badriyah, S.N. 2016. Interaksi Pasangan Tarsius Fuscus di Kawasan konservasi in-situ dan ex-situ di Taman Nasional Bantimurung Bulusaraung, Maros, Sulawesi Selatan (Skripsi). Bogor.

By: Taufiq Ismail ( Alamat surel ini dilindungi dari robot spam. Anda perlu mengaktifkan JavaScript untuk melihatnya ) and Erista Murpratiwi ( Alamat surel ini dilindungi dari robot spam. Anda perlu mengaktifkan JavaScript untuk melihatnya )