The Sulawesi Bear Cuscus at Murex Bangka Resort
Did you know that at Murex Bangka Resort we have been having sightings of the Sulawesi Bear Cuscus (Ailurops ursinus) in the trees near the dive and snorkeling center? In fact, in one day we spotted FOUR cuscuses together in the treetops!!!
Did you know that the Sulawesi Bear Cuscus is actually a marsupial and that its conservation status is officially listed as “vulnerable”? Here are some more interesting facts about these amazing creatures, which seem to be making Murex Bangka their new home!
Just a Name
The Sulawesi bear cuscus is named after its thick, dark colored, bear-like fur. Cuscus are not a true bear but an arboreal (tree-dwelling) marsupial. It uses its elongated claws and long, prehensile tail to navigate the upper canopy by slowly swinging from branch to branch (see the video below of one of the cuscus spotted at Murex Bangka). Like other marsupials, the female Sulawesi bear cuscus gives birth to relatively underdeveloped offspring and carries the infant in a pouch on her belly until it is approximately eight months old and sufficiently developed for survival. The cuscus grows to be approximately 15–22 lbs (7-10 kg) and 24 inches (61 cm) in length, with a tail that is almost as long as the rest of its body.
Aside from the trees at our Murex Bangka Resort the Sulawesi bear cuscus prefers the undisturbed forests of Indonesia, predominantly those in Sulawesi but it is also found in Halmahera and Raja Ampat. Cuscus can be found in pairs or small groups of three or four individuals in the upper canopy of lowland tropical rainforests.
Like most marsupials, the Sulawesi bear cuscus is a herbivore, eating only vegetation. Its diet consists mostly of leaves, along with flowers, buds and unripened fruit. Due to the low nutrient level in much of its diet, the cuscus tends to move slowly and spend a large portion of the day resting in order to digest its food.
Listed as a “Vulnerable” species on the IUCN Red List, the Sulawesi bear cuscus’ continued survival is threatened by habitat loss due to deforestation and forest degradation and by poachers who hunt them for their thick fur and meat. Luckily for the Cuscus that are living at Murex Bangka we hope to help protect them and ensure they remain happily at home in our resort.
Numerous NGO’s have been working with cocoa farmers in North Sulawesi to increase awareness of local species and provide education about sustainability and preserving the environment. As a result of these efforts, Sulawesi Bear Cuscus numbers have stabilized and in some areas, are on the increase!
Tangkoko Nature Reserve
One of the best places for spotting the Sulawesi Bear Cuscus in its natural environment is in the Tangkoko Nature Reserve. Tangkoko is not a safari park, it is in an area of natural forest which has been granted protection by the Indonesian government due to the rare, endemic and diverse range of creatures that have made it their home. We offer a day trip to Tangkoko from both Murex Bangka and Murex Manado and this is a wonderful place to see the Sulawesi Bear Cuscus along with the Sulawesi Black Crested Macaque, Tarsier Monkeys and a host of exotic and tropical birds, flowers, trees, butterflies and lizards!
Would you like to join us at our Murex Bangka, Robinson Crusoe, white sand beach resort? Murex Bangka is the perfect destination for those who want to relax and unwind while enjoying phenomenal diving on some of Indonesia’s most colorful and productive coral reefs. Our new Deluxe Ocean View cottages mean that you can now enjoy this tropical island retreat in even more comfort and with added luxury.
We look forward to welcoming you to North Sulawesi soon!