Habitat and Ecology
In common with most of the other suids, babirusa are omnivorous and both wild and captive individuals consume a wide variety of leaf, root, fruit and animal matter (invertebrates and small vertebrates). Babyrusa on Sulawesi visit volcanic salt licks and drink the water and ingest the soil (Clayton, 1996; Leus et al., 2002), and so they might also do this on the Togian Islands. Although detailed studies of their diet in the wild still need to be carried out, a review of the available information from the wild combined with studies on the stomachs and digestive abilities of captive animals suggest that from an anatomical/digestive point of view, they are most likely non-ruminant forestomach fermenting frugivores/concentrate selectors (Leus et al., 2004). Their jaws and teeth are reported to be strong enough to crack very hard nuts with ease. However, babirusa do not exhibit the rooting behaviour typical of other suids because of the absence of a rostral bone in the nose. They will probe soft sand as well as wet, muddy places for food.
On the Togian islands troops of up to eleven individuals have been observed (Ito et al, 2005). During interview surveys on the Togian islands, 37% of respondents considered babirusa to be solitary, 29.6% reported them to occur in groups composed of one adult pair with a litter and 29.5% of respondents reported a group size of more than 5 typically composed of an adult males with multiple females and their litters (Akbar et al., 2007).
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
The Togian Babirusa (Babyrousa togeanensis), also known as the Malenge Babirusa, is the largest species of babirusa. It is endemic to the Togian Islands of Indonesia, but was considered a subspecies of Babyrousa babyrussa until 2002. Compared to the better-known north Sulawesi babirusa, the Togian babirusa is larger, has a well-developed tail-tuft, and the upper canines of the male are relatively "short, slender, rotated forwards, and always converge".
- Macdonald, A.A., Burton, J. & Leus, K. (2008). "Babyrousa togeanensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/136472.
- Meijaard, E. and Groves, C. P. (2002). Upgrading three subspecies of Babirusa (Babyrousa sp.) to full species level. IUCN/SSC Pigs, Peccaries, and Hippos Specialist Group (PPHSG) Newsletter 2(2): 33-39.
- Meijaard, E., J. P. d'Huart, and W. L. R. Oliver (2011). Babirusa (Babyrousa). Pp. 274–276 in: Wilson, D. E., and R. A. Mittermeier, eds. (2011). Handbook of the Mammals of the World. Vol. 2, Hoofed Mammals. ISBN 978-84-96553-77-4
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