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Sulawesi Small Mammal Workshop

By 12th July 2023News

Sulawesi is a large mountainous island in Indonesia that lies adjacent to the Wallace Line. It’s a hotspot of diverse and endemic fauna, and unique in the sense that it hosts species of both Asian and Australasian originsthere’s nowhere else quite like it.

Why Sulawesi?

In a recent study, the IUCN SSC Small Mammal Specialist Group (SMSG) highlighted Sulawesi as a key region because of its particularly high number of globally threatened and data deficient rodents. However, it’s not just rodents that Sulawesi is particularly rich in. Since that study, at least 14 new shrew species have been formally described from the island. With numerous newly discovered species remaining unassessed on the IUCN Red List, or already-known species lacking up-to-date assessments, the conservation status of Sulawesi’s rodents and shrews is somewhat uncertain.

And so, in May 2023, the SMSG set out to address some of these gaps by hosting the Sulawesi Small Mammal Workshop.  

The workshop

The workshop took place in Bogor, Java, and was funded kindly by an IUCN SSC Internal Grant and through the SMSG’s core funder Re:wild. Small mammal specialists and conservationists travelled from Sulawesi (Tadulako University, Universitas Sulawesi Barat, University of Sam Ratulangi, and PROGRES), Java (Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense) and Australia (Museums Victoria). Collectively, the participants offered a wealth of knowledge on small mammals, records, taxonomy and threats, as well as Sulawesi’s geography, habitats, communities and cultures. 

We started off by applying this knowledge to the Red List assessments which, with 76 species to get through, was no easy feat. The workshop then opened up a discussion of important priorities for Sulawesi’s small mammals. Participants highlighted key research and conservation goals, and we began to identify ways in which we can implement these – we’ll be bringing more updates on this later!

The next steps for the SMSG and workshop attendees will be to submit the updated Red List assessments for publication, work on capacity-building for Sulawesi’s scientists and NGOs through, for example, developing projects on the ground, and also to create outputs such as a workshop report and small mammal field guide. It is hoped that through this work we can help to push small mammal priorities forward in Sulawesi. Watch this space!



A selection of Sulawesi’s small mammal taxa. Photos from Kevin C. Rowe, CC BY 4.0.

  1. Long-tailed Sulawesian Shrew Rat (Tateomys macrocercus)
  2. Sulawesi White-handed Shrew (Crocidura rhoditis)
  3. Sommer’s Sulawesi Rat (Sommeromys macrorhinos)