Talaud Cuscus

A species iconic to the Talaud-Sangihe Islands

Get to know Talaud Cuscus

Talaud Cuscus (Ailurops melanotis), or locally known as Kuse, is one of the four cuscus species endemic to Sulawesi. This marsupial species lives in the canopy of tropical rainforest, feeding on lianas that wrap around trees and maintaining the health of the forest.

The condition
Talaud Cuscus is critically endangered due to hunting for bushmeat. It only occurs on two small islands with extremely tiny populations. The presence of Talaud Cuscus is important to the islands’ forest and to the villages, cuscus are the icons of their traditional folklores.

Program in numbers

  • 2021

    Year started
  • 23

    Number of wild species found
  • 5

    Number of villages involved


  • 1
    Building trust with the community
  • 2
    Capacity building to increase local expertise in research and conservation
  • 3
    Conduct population survey
  • 4
    Island-wide outreach activities
A small introduction

What we do


Building trust with the community

Mba Asnim and Shera talking with local people about the Talaud Cuscus. They are sitting inside their home, but it is still under construction.
A Sulawesi Bear Cuscus in a village. This animal is a pet from one of the residents.

How we start

We just started our Cuscus program, and thus we spent time with the community to learn about each other and the cuscus behavior in the wild. This becomes the basis of our conservation approach.

number of villages

that set up signboard about Talaud Cuscus (out of 26)

People boarding small boats in the harbor. The ocean looks call and the sky blue.
Mba asnim talking with a local woman about the talaud cuscus.

Capacity building

Five team members of PROGRES in the middle of a jungle, surrounded by trees and plants. As part of a conservation program, they are trying to find the Talaud Cuscus.
We trained local youth to conduct population survey in the forest and do outreach in their community. Equipped with these new skills, they will lead the conservation programs in the future.
We will continue train local youth who are motivated to join our cause.
The PROGRES team going through the forest together with local youth.

Tough terrain

Hiking through the forest and researching the area

Take a rest

Research in these forests is tough.. That's why breaks are important.
Five team members of PROGRES are sitting down in the forest. They are having a break during their search for the Talaud Cuscus.

Conduct population survey

Field research

We finished our first population survey of Talaud Cuscus in February 2022. We found seven cuscuses in total, proving this critically endangered species can still be found, but our time to save them is not much!

number of species found


number of ex-hunters

whom now become Cuscus Guardians 💚

A talaud cuscus, very high up in the trees. It's four paws wrap around the tree branch, as well as it's long tail. The color of it's fur is grey-ish.
One of the ex-hunters, now a cuscus guardian, searching for a Talaud Cuscus high up in the trees. He is using binoculars.
“We conducted a preliminary population survey in July 2021 and trained local youth to conduct research together with us.”
We will conduct the actual population survey in December 2021 or early next year.

Island-wide outreach activities

Co-directors Shera and mba Asnim are standing in front of classroom, teaching the children about Talaud Cuscus.
Three PROGRES team members teaching children about Talaud Cuscus. All the kids are sitting outside in a circle and the teachers are standing, holding a informational flyer and wearing Talaud Cuscus t-shirts.

Growing appreciation

Nurturing the sense of pride among people, especially children, to have Talaud Cuscus on their island.

Villages visited

out of 26

Local partnerships

We are grateful for having the full support...

.... from North Sulawesi Nature Conservation Agency (BKSDA Sulawesi Utara) and North Sulawesi Forestry Agency. Their teams where fundamental for establishing the Talaud Cuscus conservation program on Salibabu Island.

Program supporters

These are the supporters of our conservations efforts for the Talaud Cuscus. Click on their name to visit their website.

Current supporter


Current supporter

Stiftung Artenschutz

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