Threatened by a volcano and bush-meat hunters, the Siau Island tarsier is among animal species newly designated critically endangered in the 2011 update of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)'s Red List of Threatened Species, released last week.
The world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plant and animal species, the Red List classifies species into eight categories, ranging from "not evaluated" to "extinct." A critically endangered species is defined as a species at extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
The Siau Island tarsier, for example, inhabits only one small Indonesian island dominated by an active volcano.
"Depending on the magnitude of the eruption and the path of the lava flows, the population could be severely affected or even possibly disappear," said Rebecca Miller, program officer for the U.K.-based Red List Unit.
The big-eyed primates also face immediate pressure from islanders who have both degraded nearly the entire tarsier habitat and hunted the animals extensively—wiping out perhaps 80 percent during the past decade.
"There are credible reports that the locals regularly eat them and may serve five to ten in a single sitting," Miller said.
(See "'Extinct,' Pop-Eyed Primate Photographed for First Time.")