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Wallacea's Biodiversity

Cerulean Flycatcher, endemic birds of Sangihe Island (Photo: Burung Indonesia/Ganjar C. Aprianto)

Wallacea can be thought of as a little slice of heaven on earth. The biogeographical region that includes the Nusa Tenggara Islands, Sulawesi and the Maluku Islands has a biodiversity that is different from that of Asia and Australo-Papua. In fact, the famous British explorer and naturalist Sir Alfred Russel Wallace was fascinated by the region.

In his book, Wallace was amazed by the differences in biodiversity that exist in this region. According to him, there are significant differences between other parts of the archipelago and the Wallacea region, such as between Bali Island and Lombok.

To mark the International Day for Biological Diversity, let's talk about the unique fauna of Wallacea:

Maleo Sengkawor, a Bird that Hides Its Eggs

This unique bird is quite different from most other birds. While other birds incubate their eggs in their nests, maleos instead bury their eggs in sand or soil and rely on geothermal sources. To trick predators that threaten their eggs, maleo mothers make several empty holes to deceive them. Maleo is distributed in Sulawesi Island and some neighbouring islands.

Cerulean Flycatcher, the Blue that Was Lost

The bird, which has predominantly blue plumage, is endemic to Sangihe Island, North Sulawesi. The Cerulean Flycatcher was thought to have been lost for about a hundred years. It was finally rediscovered by two British researchers in 1998. This bird is a fruit and seed eater. So it can be called a "forest farmer" because it contributes to seed dispersal in the Sahendaruman Forest, which is its natural habitat.

Yaki, The Short Tail with Hair

Macaca nigra better known as "yaki" or Celebes Crested Macaque. Unlike most monkeys, the yaki has a fairly short tail, only about 20 centimetres. In addition, this monkey also has a unique hair display similar to a tuft in the centre. Yaki is one of Indonesia's endemic animals. As with other primates, yaki have a high learning ability. They are able to observe and imitate human behaviour, even how to obtain food.

Banggai Cardinalfish, an Endemic Reef-dwelling Fish

Banggai Cardinalfishis one of Indonesia's endemic fish species. It is only found in the waters around the Banggai Islands as its natural habitat. The Banggai Cardinalfish is unique in that the female will keep the eggs in her mouth to protect and care for them until they hatch. During this time, they usually do not eat and rely on their stored energy reserves. Despite being farmed in many locations, the number of wild-caught banggai is still high. If this continues to be the case, the Banggai Islands' signature ornamental fish is certainly getting closer to the brink of extinction.

Tarsiers, Tiny Primates with Big Eyes

Sulawesi is home to many species of tarsier. These small primates inhabit many locations on Sulawesi Island and neighbouring islands, such as tarsius peling, tarsius wallacei and tarsius sangihe. Its small body allows it to jump five to six metres.

The animals mentioned above are just a small part of the rich biodiversity of Wallacea. Even so, this abundant biodiversity is also experiencing various challenges from various things. Therefore, the role and support of various parties is an effort that must be made to support the survival of the inhabitants of a small paradise called Wallacea.

Happy International Day for Biological Diversity