Tarsiers in the Philippines

Philippine Tarsier – Wikipedia

The ‘Philippine Tarsier’ (Tarsius syrichta), known locally as the ‘Maumag’ in Cebuano/Visayan, is an Endangered species (ecology)|endemic] to the Philippines. It is found in the southeastern part of the archipelago, particularly in the islands of Bohol island,Samar island,Leyte Island, and Mindanao.It is a member of approximately 45 million years old FamilyTarsiidae,whose name is derived from its elongated “tarsus” or ankle bone.

Its geographic range also includes Maripipi Island, Siargao Island, Basilan Island and Dinagat Island.[2] Tarsiers have also been reported in Sarangani, although they may be different subspecies.

The Eyes Have It: Tiny Tarsiers of Bohol

If it’s true that wildlife conservation efforts favor “cute” species, the endangered Philippine tarsier should get no shortage of attention. The tree-dwelling primate looks like a ball of fuzz with a long tail, pointy ears and huge yellow eyes. It’s smaller than a coconut, has no neck, and its head swivels 180 degrees.

Loveable though they may be, tarsiers have not had it easy in the past few decades. Fifty years ago they were abundant on several Philippine islands. Older residents of Bohol, the island with the largest density of tarsiers, recall the days when forays into the forest frequently brought tarsier sightings.

Wildlife trip to the Philippines

You’d be hard pressed to find a cuter or more loveable creature  than this one, a Philippines tarsier.   Tarsiers like this are among the smallest primates on the planet, and although they used to be relatively widespread, they’re now only found in small pockets of forest on several of the Philippines islands, and in Indonesia on the islands of Borneo and Sulawesi.   This one was at the Tarsier Visitors Center on the island of Bohol, which runs the foremost preservation effort for them in the country.

Not only are tarsiers one of the smallest primates, they’re also one of the most ancient, having been around for 45 million years, fossils showing that they once also lived in North America, Europe and mainland Asia.

The Philippine Tarsier

The Philippine tarsier, (Tarsius syrichta) is very peculiar small animal. In fact it is one of the smallest known primates, no larger than a adult men’s hand. Mostly active at night, it lives on a diet of insects. Folk traditions sometimes has it that tarsiers eat charcoal, but actually they retrieve the insects from (sometimes burned) wood. It can be found in the islands of Samar, Leyte, Bohol, and Mindanao in the Philippines.

If no action is taken, the tarsier might not survive. Although it is a protected species, and the practice of catching them and then selling them as stuffed tarsiers to tourists has stopped, the species is still threatened by the destruction of his natural forest habitat. Many years of both legal and illegal logging and slash-and-burn agriculture have greatly reduced these forests, and reduced the tarsier population to a dangerously small size. If no action is taken now, the Philippine tarsier can soon be added to the list of extinct species.

Bohol Tarsiers (The Smallest Primate)- Bohol-Philippines

Only five species of the tarsier exist: four can be found in Indonesia and the specie, Tarsius Syrichta, lives deep in the woods of Bohol Island in the Visayas. These small furry creatures can also be found in the islands of Samar, Leyte and Mindanao.

Before, the tarsiers have inhabited the rainforests worldwide but have dwindled and now exist only in said islands of the Philippines, in Borneo and Indonesia. In the 1960’s, they were a common sight in the southern part of Bohol, but now only an estimated 1000 exists in the wild.

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