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Description and Rationale


The tarsier can only be found in small parts of either Indonesia, or the Philippines. The majority of Tarsiers live in and around the Bohol. Bohol is an island in the Philippines located around the central part of the Philippines. It is an endangered animal that is the smallest specie in the primate family. Their population has been recorded around five to ten thousand left in the world. Though many efforts to preserve them are being produced, their numbers are still decreasing.

The only places in the world that still have tarsiers in the Philippines are Bohol, Leyte, and Mindanao. While in Indonesia, they live in the island of Samar. The Tarsier is the smallest type of primate growing to an average height of 3.5-6 inches, while weighing around 3-6 ounces. It mainly eats insects and small lizards. It has large eyes and is very nocturnal making it safer and easier to hunt. Main causes of their decrease include destruction of their habitats (the rainforests) either by man or by nature, being taken out of their habitat for either pets, or just for hunting reasons. There are many organizations that try to stop the tarsier for extinction. Though being that there is a cause, people still are trying to figure out why they are still dying. Could it be that they we hurt the population just by interacting with them, or is the logging in for the trees the main reason for their decrease. By figuring out these reasons, you can stop the extinction of the tarsier and be able to see an amazing animal for many years.

This project is to find out what are the main reasons why the tarsier is becoming extinct, and what effects cause them to be extinct. As well as what can be done to fix the problem and what people need to understand about the Tarsier that can fix it. This will be done with not only research from the internet, but also from interviews from people who have seen the animal first hand and know facts about the creature that not that many know. When the project is done, it will help figure out what is the biggest reason why the population of the Tarsier is going down, and what can help them.

If a solution is found to stop the Tarsier from becoming extinct as well as being able to repopulate to grow exponentially, then more people around the world will be able to see the Tarsier and understand what they are really like.



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Common Names and Synonyms


There are several species of the tarsiers; several of the species are the Pygmy Tarsier, Dian’s Tarsier, and the Bornean Tarsier. The main focus on the project is the Philippine Tarsier, whose scientific name is the Tarsius Syrichta. The name comes from their special elongated tarsal bone which allows them to jump several meters high. The local name for the tarsier in Cebuano is the mawmag. The Tagalog way to spell it is mamag. In several other dialects in the Philippines they are known as mago, magau, maomag, malmag, and magatilok-iok. In France, they are called Tarsier des Philippines. In Germany, they are called Philippinenkoboldmaki.





 Kingdom:       Animalia


Phylum:           Chordata (vertebrates/backbones)

Class:              Mammalia (Mammals)

Order:             Primates (highest order of mammalia, Prosimian)

Family:            Tarsiidae (Tarsier)

Genus:             Tarsius (group of tarsier)


Species:           T. syrichta (Philippine tarsier)





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Morphology and Physical Description



T. syrichta can grow to around 3.5 to 6.25 inches (90-160 mm), while weighing 3-6 ounces (70-165 grams), making them the smallest primates in the world.


The most obvious feature of the T. syrichta is their eyes. They have very large eyes for their size, and are fixed so that they cannot move. Though they cannot move their eyes, they are able to move their head 180 degrees.


Their ears are able to move making it easier to hear both their prey and predators. 

The T. syrichta’s Feet are tipped with rounded pads which help the T. syrichta grab on to things. The first toe on the T. syrichta is opposable, and all but two toes are flat and dull, the other two are sharp specifically used for grooming. The normal color of the 


Most of the T. syrichta are either a type of brown, or grey. Their fur is most often silk like and very thick. Their fur covers every part of their body except for their nose, hands/feet, and most of their tail


The tail of a tarsier is almost twice as long as their body and is useful for balancing the T. syrichta on trees, and high up places with little to grab onto.





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Getting Food



T. syrichta are nocturnal creatures making their eyes and ears the main factor in catching their food. T. syrichta mostly eat small lizards, insects, and spiders. They have been spotted eating a variety of other foods from small birds around their size (the entire bird including feet, and beak are consumed), to poisonous snakes. They catch their foods by leaping for them with their specialized femur and catch them with their hands. They have very quick hands and are very good at timing their jump. That can be seen while when they attempt to catch birds. They start off by hiding themselves and waiting for a bird to get near; next they leap for the bird and catch it while in mid flight. As it is brought down, the tarsier bites down on the bird and waits till it is dead.





The T. syrichta’s are most commonly seen in adult male and female pairs leading them to be thought of as monogamous animals. Throughout the year, a T. syrichta can give birth be pregnant. The females have a gestation period of around six months T. syrichta give birth to single offspring’s. There have been rare occasions where these T. syrichta give birth to twins or more than one offspring at a time. The baby weighs around a quarter of the weight of the mother when born. When the baby is born, its eyes are able to open is already full of fur.  The mother Tarsiers watch over their young for around a year and a half. A few months after birth, they are able to catch their own food. At one year, they are fully matured and begin to stop feeding on their mother’s milk and eat more of solid foods. The female T. syrichta’s have an ovarian cycle of 28 days.



Environmental Factors


The Tarsiers live in moist, humid areas such as the tropical rainforests. They need to have lots of trees, or tall plants around them for both to live on, and also to use as protection. They live in a range of one to two hectares per group of Tarsiers of around five to ten. Tarsiers only live in South East Asian islands in the Philippines, and in Indonesia. One of the reasons for their decrease was due to the destruction of their habitat either by man, or by natural disasters. The Tarsiers are very hard to keep as pets. They are known as “suicidal animals”, due to them killing themselves if ever threatened or unhappy with its surrounding environment. There have not been any diseases that have been found in a common T. syrichta. The only harmful parasites found in the tarsier family is in the Tarsius bancanus.


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Origin and Distribution


 They were first discovered in the 18th century by a missionary in the Philippines. He first called them Cercopithecus luzonis minimus (later the name was changed to another name, finally after the third time; it came to its final name). They were originally seen all over South East Asia, but soon began decreasing rapidly every year. 



Importance to People


 The T. syrichta has little affects to humans. Except for several parasites and worms that can be given to human if owned as a pet, there are no negative effects except for the constant care and attention for the single animal. As for the positive effects, they can be used as a tourist attraction to the remote areas in the Philippines. Several examples of ecotourism are specific areas focused mainly for the tarsiers, and their comfortable habitat. In that area, the people who take care of the area have tour guides of where they live (in a safe distance) and how they survive or any fact a person would want to know about the T. syrichta  They also are helpful in being used as pest controllers. They eat any insect or small creature they get.



Survivability and Endangered Status


The Tarsier is an endangered species and is decreasing in amount, every year. What adds to the problem is that since they can be suicidal, it is hard to preserve them in a closed environment without them becoming depressed, or irritated. Around the world, there are only around five to ten thousand Tarsiers left of that ten thousand, there are nearly one thousand T. syrichtas left.  On June 23, 1997, the Philippine President Fidel Ramos agreed to Proclamation 1030. Proclamation 1030 said that it was illegal to hurt, hunt, kill, or capture Tarsiers, as well as destroy their habitats. The only way to keep a tarsier is if used only to preserve it and use scientifically.



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Potential Solutions


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