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Successful reintroduction of world’s smallest hog

The critically-endangered pygmy hog Porcula salvania (also known as Sus salvanius) is thriving one year after being reintroduced into Sonai Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam, India.

According to researchers with the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (DWCT), surveys and camera traps have shown that two-thirds of the 16 originally released pygmy hogs have survived their first year. One of two pregnant females gave birth successfully with tracks of baby pygmy hogs found in the summer of last year.

The world’s smallest and rarest wild pig: the pygmy hog. Photo by: Goutam Narayan / Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.

Pygmy hogs have the honor of being the world’s smallest wild pig, standing between 20 and 30 centimeters off the ground. The hog’s natural habitat is grasslands which have been increasingly cultivated by humans. The species remains threatened by agricultural expansion, livestock, burning of the grasslands, and the commercial forestry industry. The vanishing grasslands are important to several other species including the swamp deer Cervus duvauceli, wild buffalo Bubalus bubalis, hispid hare Caprolagus hispidus, and Bengal florican Houbaropsis bengalensis.

The Pygmy Hog Conservation Program (PHCP), which oversaw the reintroduction, is planning a second release of 14 more pygmy hogs this month. The pygmy hogs have been preparing for their release since last December in special pens. Currently the breeding facility for this critically-endangered species has a total of 41 adults.

“The successful establishment of new populations of this species is the culmination of the hard work of a number of organizations to save this animal from extinction, and the survival of the first batch of pigs bodes well for the future,” said John Fa, John Fa, Director of Conservation Science at Durrell.

The pygmy hog was featured on the popular program Planet Earth.

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