The exotic orchid-shaped island of Sulawesi (formerly known as Celebes) protects a number of exotic wildlife not found anywhere else in the world. Geographically, Sulawesi lies on the edge of the so-called Wallace Line (named after its discoverer Alfred Wallace), which at this juncture is drawn along the deep Sulawesi Sea, that separates the island of Borneo from Sulawesi. West of this line are land on the Asian continental tectonic plate, whereas terrains to the east are on the Australian continental plate, which accounts for the very different animals and plants found on these two now neighboring islands.
Some endemic wildlife on Sulawesi are the anoa, the babirusa, the black macaque, maleo birds, the kuskus bear and the tarsius. In North Sulawesi these can be seen in the Tangkoko Nature Park near Bitung and the Bagani Nani Wartabone Park, further west to the province of Gorontalo (www.boganiwartabone.dephut.go.id).
1 | The Anoa
The Anoa resembles a water buffalo but is much smaller so that it is also known as the small buffalo. Its size is only slightly larger than a goat. The anoa is now an endangered species as its numbers decrease year by year. At present only some 5,000 are believed to be in existence. There are two species of anoas, namely those living in the lowlands (Bubalus depressicornis), and those in the highlands (Bubalus quarlesi), both can be distinguished by their body and the size of the horns. These animals are constantly on the move, When attacked, the anoa defends itself by diving into the swamps and when needed will fight with its horns.
2 | The Babirusa Wild Boar
This is a wild boar species found in Sulawesi and the surrounding islands of Togean, Malenge, Sula and Buru. Different from the average wild boar, the babirusa has very long tusks that pierce its mouthbarrel then curves up almost touching its eyes. The Babirusa eats fruits and only hunts at night to avoid its attackers. It is a shy animal so that it avoids humans, yet when it feels disturbed then the babirusa can be very fierce.
3 | The Maleo Bird
At a glance the Maleo bird looks like a cockerel but has a black and white crest. Although included as a bird species the Maleo does not fly but prefers to walk just like chickens. Its crowning glory its crest is unique to the Maleo and is believed to function to seek heat for its habitat and for hatching.
The Maleo bird lives near warm beaches or in areas that have hot water springs. The maleo needs heat to hatch its eggs, since it leaves its eggs only buried in the sand. To dig into the sand the maleo has an extra digit that it requires for digging.
4 | The Kuskus Bear
The Kuskus bear is a marsupial that grows larger than the average kuskus, and therefore, resembles a bear. Its body height height is 56 cm , has a long tail of 54 cm, having a total weight of around 8 kg. The kuskus bear is a quiet animal making hardly any sound except when disturbed. The Kukus bear is active during the day, while most of the time it prefers to sleep and rest, actove only a little time to eat leaves and fruits.
5 | The Black Macaque
The black macaque of Sulawesi called is the wolai ape or yaki by the local population. Its habitat is found only in north Sulawesi and some smaller islands around. This endemic animal has a completely black body, with a tuft on its head. Like other primates living in the forests, the macaques eat leaves, nuts, flowers, tubers, some kinds of insects, molluscs and snakes. The macaques live in highlands of more than 2,000 meters above sea level. They love primary forests as habitat and to for their food. Besides swinging around in the trees the black macaques often walk on the ground.
6 | The Tarsius
The smallest primate in the world, Tarsius Tarsier has been made the icon of the province of North Sulawesi, Its size is only between 10-15 cm, weighing around 80 grams, and can easily fit in the palm of your hand. Its distinguishing eyes have a diameter of 16 mm which take up the larger part of its skull. Tarsius has long legs and it is because of these that it has been named Tarsius. It has soft fur almost like velvet, brown grey, light brown or light orange in color.
The Tarsius belong to the insektivora as they eat insects by jumping on their prey. Tarsiers can even catch a bird in flight. This nocturnal animal is very faithful. It only has one mate through life,and even when its mate dies, the remaining tarsius will not take another mate throughout its entire lifespan.
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