Tarsiers, one of the smallest monkey species on earth and found only in South East Asia, may be on the brink of extinction in Indonesia’s forested Sulawesi island as the lucrative timber industry and increased agriculture activity threatens their habitat.
Tarsiers are nocturnal creatures that build nests inside trees and live with their family. It has a body about the size of fist, a long tail and resembles a rat or a squirrel.
Conservationist Johnny Tarsin said: “On this island of Sulawesi we have so many different kinds of tarsiers. And actually the distribution of tarsiers itself it’s only limited to the islands of Sulawesi, Kalimantan and south of the Philippines.”Previously, the tiny monkey, scientifically known as “tarsius spectrum” and seen as the intermediate stage between very early primates and humans, had only natural enemies such as owls and snakes to fear. But now, forest destruction and an increased usage of herbicides and pesticides in agriculture are threatening the tarsier’s food supply. Furthermore, in some places people hunt this primate for sport. Tarsin added: “Tarsiers are very delicate animals. They like to live in very specific areas. So if you disturb the area, you disturb the habitat. They tend to go away from that. So that means if the habitat is degraded the tarsier population also will be decrease. So it is very bad if we do something to the habitat”. They are primarily insectivorous, and catch insects by jumping at them. Only around 1.000 tarsiers live today in Tangkoko forest. If they are not protected, they could soon disappear.