Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Female pygmy hogs are found in small groups, known as 'sounders', composed of one or two adults and their young (4). Males are solitary except for during the mating season, which begins towards the end of November (2). Rival males compete for access to females during this time and will use threatening displays that are also typical of other members of this genus; adopting a broadside stance, their hair bristles and they turn their heads yawning and curling the lips to show their canine teeth (2). Pregnant females will move away from their group to give birth, usually to a litter of four to six piglets after a gestation period of around 120 days (2). Pygmy hogs are unusual in that both sexes use nests year round. The whole family makes use of the nest constructed in a depression on the ground and lined with grasses (4). Pygmy hogs forage for a wide variety of foods, eating roots, grasses, fruits, insects and earthworms amongst others (2). Groups occupy small home ranges of about 25 hectares (7) and regularly used paths can be seen amongst the tall elephant grasses. Travelling single file, the adults of the group take up the front and the rear of the procession (4).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Description

As its common name suggests, the pygmy hog is the smallest of all the pig family; it is also the most endangered. These small hogs have relatively short limbs, the back is short and rounded and the tail is extremely short (2). The coat is grey brown along the back and pale on the underparts, it is longest behind the shoulders (2). Newborns are greyish pink in colour, later developing a brown coat with faint ochre stripes before attaining adult colouring (4). Adult males are larger and more robust than females; they have visible tushes (canine teeth) and a band of dark hair along the ridge of the nose (2). Soft grunting calls are used to maintain contact between individuals within their dense habitat (2). Recently, genetic evidence has shown that the pygmy hog is the sole member of the genus Porcula, and is not a member of the genus Sus, which contains the domestic pig (5).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Distribution

The present range of Sus salvanius (commonly known as the pygmy hog) is found only in the reserve forest belts of the Manas Wildlife Sanctuary and the Barnadi Wildlife Sanctuary in northwestern Assam, India. However, they were once found in throughout northern India, Bhutan, and Nepal.

(Macdonald 1999; Massacot 2000)

Biogeographic Regions: oriental (Native )

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Range Description

In the past, this species was confirmed from only a very few locations in northern West Bengal and north-western Assam in India, but is believed likely to have occurred in tall, wet alluvial grasslands extending in a narrow belt south of the Himalayan foothills from north-western Uttar Pradesh and southern Nepal to Assam, possibly extending at intervals into contiguous habitats in southern Bhutan (Oliver 1980). However, it is now confined to a very few locations in and around Manas National Park in north-western Assam (Narayan and Deka 2002, Narayan and Oliver, in press).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Historic Range:
India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Range

Thought to previously be found in a range south of the Himalayan foothills in Nepal, Bhutan and India (6), the pygmy hog was feared to be extinct by the 1960s but was 'rediscovered' in 1971. Since then however, numbers have fallen dramatically and the only viable population is today found within Manas National Park in north-western Assam, India (2).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Physical Description

Morphology

Sus salvanius is the smallest suid known. Adult males are on average 65 cm long (including the head), and 25 cm tall (to the shoulder). Females are only slighly smaller. Males average 8.5 kg in weight. Their coats have blackish-brown bristles over gray-brown skin and they have no facial warts. Both sexes have a tail that is approximatly 3 cm long and females have three pairs of mammae.

(WWF 1997; Macdonald 1999)

Range mass: 0 to 0 kg.

Average mass: 8 kg.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Pygmy hogs live in tall, dense grasslands that have a mixture of shrubs and trees. Within their home range of approximately 25 hectares (61 acres), family groups live in high dome-shaped nests made of grass and other vegetation.

This species once occupied parts of India, Bhutann and Nepal, however today they are restricted to northwest Assam in India. Their decline is believed to be caused by elimination of their habitat through human settlement, overgrazing of livestock, commercial forestry, flood control projects and agricultural encroachment. In addition, the grassland habitat is periodically burned during the dry season by Forest Deparment personnel or by herdsman and thatch collectors, leaving no cover and thus increasing vulnerability to hunters from neighboring villages.

(Sanyal 1994; Massicot 2000)

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
The Pygmy Hog is the smallest and the rarest wild suid in the world. This species is dependent on early successional riverine communities, typically comprising dense tall grasslands, commonly referred to as 'thatchland', but which, in its pristine state, is intermixed with a wide variety of herbaceous plants and early colonizing shrubs and young trees (Oliver and Deb Roy 1993). There are many species of tall grasses, which dominate in different situations. The most important of these communities for Pygmy Hogs are those which tend to be dominated by Saccharum munja, S. spontaneum, S. bengalensis, Themeda villosa, Narenga porphyrocoma and Imperata cylindrical, which form characteristic associations of 1 to 4 m height, during secondary stages of the succession on well drained ground. These communities are not, therefore, maintained by prolonged inundation, though they may be maintained by periodic burning. However, as they also include some of the most commercially important thatching grasses, some of these areas (including many of those in protected areas) are harvested annually and virtually all of them are subject to wide-scale annual (in some areas, twice-annual) burning. Although it has been suggested by ecologists that any burning be conducted at the beginning of the dry season (in December or early January) in alternate blocks (demarcated by fire-lines) and only once in 2-3 years, most of the grasslands continue to be burnt every year in the dry season, which deleteriously affects their floral and faunal diversity. It has been recognised that some amount of "early" burning may be required in order to preclude the possibility of later, uncontrolled 'hot' burns, which are far more destructive, and possibly to delay natural succession of the grasslands in protected areas. However, early burning also may deprive hogs and other grassland dependant species of cover and other resources for a longer period prior to the regrowth of vegetation and has the same consequences of dramatically reducing floral and faunal diversity.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Pygmy hogs occupy typical floodplain habitats, such as secondary successional forests, dense tall grasslands and mixed scrub associations (2).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Trophic Strategy

Pygmy hogs have well developed teeth, with upturned canines and molars with rounded cusps. This allows them to enjoy an omnivorous diet. They feed primarily on roots, tubers and other vegetative food as well as insects, eggs, young birds, and reptiles. Foraging occurs for approximately 6 to 10 hours a day, pausing midday to escape the heat.

(Chung 1997; WWF 1997; Huffman 1999; Massicot 2000)

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life Expectancy

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
7.5 years.

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
12.0 years.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 14 years (captivity) Observations: In the wild, these animals have been estimated to live up to 12 years (David Macdonald 1985). One specimen lived over 14 years at Berlin Zoo (Richard Weigl 2005). They are critically endangered and hence their longevity may be underestimated.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Joao Pedro de Magalhaes

Source: AnAge

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Reproduction

Reproduction is strongly seasonal, and the birth peak coincides with the monsoon in late April and May. Gestation is approximately 100 days and litters range from 2 to 6 young, but are usually 3 to 4 young. Sus salvanius reaches sexual maturity at 13 to 33 months and may live 10 to 12 years in the wild.

(Huffman 1999; Massicot 2000)

Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual

Average birth mass: 191.5 g.

Average gestation period: 108 days.

Average number of offspring: 3.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)

Sex: male:
700 days.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)

Sex: female:
700 days.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

Conservation Status

Sus salvanius was placed in the Endangered category according to IUCN in 1960. The species remained Endangered until 1996 when it was placed in the Critically Endangered category. In 1970 it was estimated that there were less than 150 pygmy hogs living in the wild. Currently Sus salvanius is protected by Schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act. In addition, a "three-point" Action Plan was agreed upon by the Indian Central Government, and the IUCN/SSC Pigs and Peccaries Specialist Group in 1987. This plan includes conducting field surveys on the remaining wild populations and assessing areas for future reintroduction of captive bred animals.

Pygmy hogs are listed under CITES Appendix I.

(WWF 1997; Massicot 2000)

CITES: appendix i

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: critically endangered

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
CR
Critically Endangered

Red List Criteria
C2a(ii)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Narayan, G., Deka, P. & Oliver, W.

Reviewer/s
Leus, K. & Oliver, W. ( Pig, Peccary & Hippo Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Critically Endangered because its population size is estimated to number fewer than 250 mature individuals, with all individuals in a single subpopulation, and it is experiencing a continuing decline.

History
  • 1996
    Critically Endangered
  • 1994
    Endangered
    (Groombridge 1994)
  • 1990
    Endangered
    (IUCN 1990)
  • 1988
    Endangered
    (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
  • 1986
    Endangered
    (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Current Listing Status Summary

Status: Endangered
Date Listed: 06/02/1970
Lead Region: Foreign (Region 10) 
Where Listed: India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim


Population detail:

Population location: India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim
Listing status: E

For most current information and documents related to the conservation status and management of Sus salvanius , see its USFWS Species Profile

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Status

Classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List 2007 (1), and listed on Appendix I of CITES (3).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Population

Population
Today, this species is at the brink of extinction, as only a few isolated and small populations survive in the wild. In fact, the only viable population of the species, with a few hundred individuals, exists in small grassland pockets of Manas National Park (500 km²) and an adjacent reserve forest in the Manas Tiger Reserve and nowhere else in the world (Narayan and Deka 2002). Sixteen captive-bred Pygmy Hogs were released in Sonai Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary in May 2008 and similar reintroductions have been planned in Nameri and Orang National Parks of Assam. There are about 75 animals in captivity in northwestern Assam.

Population Trend
Decreasing
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Threats

Major Threats
The main threats to survival of Pygmy Hog are loss and degradation of habitat due to human settlements, agricultural encroachments, dry-season burning, livestock grazing, commercial forestry and flood control schemes; the latter as a result of the disruption of natural successions and the replacements of former grasslands by later stage communities or other developments. In Assam, as elsewhere, most former habitat has been lost to settlements and agriculture following the rapid expansion of the human population (Oliver, 1980, 1981, 1989; Oliver and Deb Roy, 1993). Some management practices, such as planting of trees in the grasslands and indiscriminate use of fire to create openings and to promote fresh growth of grass, have caused extensive damage to the habitats the authorities intend to protect (Narayan and Deka 2002). A combination of these factors has almost certainly resulted in the loss of all of the small populations of these animals in the reserve forests of north-western Assam. These losses strongly reinforced the overwhelming importance of the largest and, by the early to mid-1980's, only known surviving population in the Manas (Oliver, 1981, 1989; Oliver and Deb Roy 1993).

Hunting for wild meat by tribes was not considered a major problem in the past but is now threatening the remnant populations (Narayan and Deka 2002). The survival of Pygmy Hogs is closely linked to the existence of the tall, wet grasslands of the region which, besides being a highly threatened habitat itself, is also crucial for survival of a number endangered species such as Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis), tiger (Panthera tigris), swamp deer (Cervus duvauceli), wild buffalo (Bubalus arnee), hispid hare (Caprolagus hispidus), Bengal florican (Eupodotis bengalensis), swamp francolin (Francolinus gularis) and some rare turtles and terrapins.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

The tall grassland habitat of the pygmy hog has been extensively destroyed by development, agriculture, domestic grazing and deliberate fires (2). The only viable population of pygmy hogs is today restricted to Manas National Park, and it is thought that possibly as few as 100 to 150 pygmy hogs remain (4). Even within the park boundaries there are threats from livestock grazing, poaching and fire; whilst continued political unrest in the area severely hampers effective conservation efforts (2).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme (PHCP) is a broad-based research and conservation programme for this highly threatened species and its equally endangered habitats (Narayan and Deka 2002, Narayan 2006). It is being conducted under the aegis of a formal International Agreement, that was originally signed at New Delhi in 1995 and later renewed as a Memorandum of Understanding in 2001, between IUCN SSC Pigs Peccaries and Hippos Specialist Group, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (DWCT), the Forest Department, Government of Assam, and the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. A local governing body consisting of representatives of the four signatories and some Indian experts has been constituted to provide guidance to the Programme. The implementation of this agreement, the first of its kind in India, is being undertaken by PHCP and the local partner organisation, EcoSystems-India, with funds provided by DWCT, with assistance from the European Union, Darwin Initiative (UK government), Assam Valley Wildlife Society, Zoological Society for the Conservation of Species and Populations (ZGAP), and various other sources. The primary aim of this collaborative programme is conservation of the Pygmy Hogs and other endangered species of tall grasslands of the region through field research, captive breeding and re-introduction after adequate restoration of degraded former habitats. One of the main objectives of the Programme was to establish a well structured conservation breeding project for pygmy hogs as an insurance against the possible early extinction of the species in the wild and as a source of animals for re-introduction projects. In 1996, six (2 male, 4 female) wild hogs were caught from Manas National Park and transferred to a custom-built research and breeding centre built at Basistha near Guwahati, the capital of Assam. Five more hogs were caught and released at the capture site after fitting three males and a female with radio harness for radio-telemetry studies. The hog population kept in captivity almost doubled in 1997 from 18 to 35 through planned breeding. Between 1998 and 2002, several more hogs were born in captivity and a rescued wild hog was added to the captive population, taking it to over 75 animals which constituted over 1200% increase in 6 years. Although two more enclosures and a quarantine facility were constructed at Basistha, the unanticipated and rapid increase in the captive population created accommodation problems, forcing the programme to restrict breeding in captivity. Subsequently, a much larger facility was established at Potasali near Nameri National Park in Assam. This facility includes four holding enclosures and four pre-release enclosures with near natural habitat, where hogs earmarked for reintroduction are reared. Since the animals at Basistha Centre are the only captive pygmy hogs in the world, the second centre is also an insurance against any catastrophe at the present location. Once the Potasali pre-release enclosures were ready and the habitat at one of the release sites became reasonably suitable, the hogs were allowed to breed again.

Surveys to locate possible release sites in Assam were carried out, as the rapidly increasing captive population necessitated transfer of some of these pygmy hog back to where they belonged. Two potential re-introduction sites were identified in Sonai Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary and Nameri National Park, both in Sonitpur district of Assam bordering Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh. Habitat management and protection regimes at the potential release sites were assessed in consultation with authorities and recommendations for restoration and scientific management were given. The management authorities are trying to implement the recommendations with limited auccess. The habitat in a part of Orang National Park was also found suitable, but in absence of any reliable record of the species formerly occurring in this area, further evaluation is considered necessary.

The actual release of hogs was delayed initially due to security problems and later due to presence of factors that were responsible for disappearance of the hogs at the potential reintroduction sites. Once the some of the recommendations were implemented at one of the sites (Sonai Rupai), preparations for soft release were started. In 2007, 23 babies were produced at Basistha. Three social groups comprising 16 (7 male, 9 female) hogs, including 10 yearlings, were transferred from Basistha to Potasali pre-release enclosures in December 2007. They were kept in the pre-release enclosures under minimum human contact. Each of these enclosures are 2,400 to 3,200 m² in size and capable of meeting most of the food requirements of a group of 5-6 hogs. These hogs began to behave like wild animals within a few weeks and did not come close even to their keepers except in an area where they were offered a few morsels of their favourite food. They were shifted to a release enclosure in Sonai Rupai after five months, and were given access to go to the wild after about two weeks. Unfortunately, the radio telemetry studies on these hogs could not be done as the radio harness fitted on six of them while they were in pre-release caused injuries when they moved rapidly through very dense grass. The released hogs will be monitored through indirect means (droppings, nests) and by observing them at bait stations.

Community conservation initiatives and awareness campaign have been started in the fringe villages of Manas, Nameri and Sonai Rupai as it is almost impossible to save the species without the cooperation of the local population. Capacity building and training programmes are also being carried out for the frontline protection staff in the above protected areas.

This species is listed on CITES Appendix I (as Sus salvanius).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

The pygmy hog is protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 in India and international trade is banned by its listing on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) (2). Manas National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986 (2). The Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme (PHCP) was established in 1995, under the aegis of a formal 'International Conservation Management and Reseach Agreement (ICMRA)' between the Pigs, Peccaries and Hippo Specialist Group (8) of the IUCN, the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (9) and relevant local and national governmental authorities (2). The PHCP has carried out a multi-faceted strategy, including field status surveys, behavioural studies, captive breeding, personnel training and local community awareness and assistance programmes (2). The Pygmy Hog Research and Breeding Centre near Guwahati in Assam was established in 1996, and by the year 2000 the only captive population of this species had grown from the original six individuals to a total of 77 (2). In 2008, 16 of these pygmy hogs were released into the Sonai Rupai Wildlife Reserve, where they will be carefully monitored (10). The captive population is a potentially crucial insurance for keeping this small pig from extinction (2).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

There is no information available that indicates Sus salvanius adversely affects humans.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Sus salvanius has been over-hunted, so at one point it is likely that they provided a source of food for local hunters, and possibly income if the people sold the meat. There is no information available that speaks directly about Sus salvanius positively benefiting humans.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Wikipedia

Pygmy hog

The pygmy hog (Porcula salvania) is a critically endangered suid, previously spread across India, Nepal, and Bhutan, but now only found in Assam.[1] The current world population is about 150 individuals or fewer. Recent conservation measures have improved the prospects of survival in the wild of this critically endangered species.

Description and biology[edit]

Painting of a piglet born in the zoological garden in London in 1883

They are about 55 to 71 cm long and stand at 20–30 cm (7.9-11.8 in), with a tail of 2.5 cm (1 in). They weigh 6.6-11.8 kg (14.5-26 lbs). Their skin is dark brownish-black and the hair is dark. Piglets are born grayish-pink, becoming brown with yellow stripes along the body length. Their heads are sharply tapered and they have a slight crest of hair on their foreheads and on the back of their necks. Adult males have the upper canines visible on the sides of their mouths. They live for about eight years, becoming sexually mature at one to two years old. They breed seasonally before the monsoons giving birth to a litter of three to six after a gestation of 100 days. In the wild, they make small nests by digging a small trench and lining it with vegetation. During the heat of the day, they stay within these nests. They feed on roots, tubers, insects, rodents, and small reptiles.

Taxonomy and systematics[edit]

Pygmy hog

The species was first described as the only member of the genus Porcula,[2] but was then regarded as the closest relative of the Eurasian pig Sus scrofa and named Sus salvanius. [3] New genetic analysis of a large section of mitochondrial DNA supports the original classification of the pygmy hog as a unique genus.[4] The resurrection of the original genus status and the species name Porcula salvania has been adopted by GenBank. The species name salvania is after the sal forests where it was found.[5][6]

Status[edit]

The pygmy hog is the sole representative of Porcula, making the conservation of this critically endangered species even more important, as its extinction would result in the loss of a unique evolutionary branch of pigs. They used to be widespread in the tall, wet grasslands in the southern Himalayan foothills from Uttar Pradesh to Assam, through Nepal and north Bengal. However, human encroachment has largely destroyed the natural habitat of the pygmy hog by development, agriculture, domestic grazing, and deliberate fires. Only one viable population remains in the Manas Tiger Reserve, but even there, threats due to livestock grazing, poaching, fire, and tigers persist. The total wild population has been estimated as less than 150 animals and the species is listed as "critically endangered". [7] Their rarity contrasts greatly with the massive population of wild boars (Sus scrofa) in India.

Conservation[edit]

Conservation of the species has been hampered by the lack of public support, unlike that for charismatic South Asian mammals such as the Bengal tiger or Indian rhinoceros. Local political unrest in the area has also severely hampered effective conservation efforts, but these conflicts have now ceased.[citation needed]. Also, Pygmy hog is designated Schedule I species in India under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and offences against them invite heavy penalties.[8]

Pygmy hogs were exhibited in the zoos of London and Berlin in the 19th century. However, this captivity was not aimed at conservation, and none of the captive populations survived. Zürich Zoo exhibited pygmy hogs from 1976 to 1978, but all females died. The success of captive breeding dramatically increased after the Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme (PHCP) was established in 1995. The PHCP was established under the umbrella of a formal 'International Conservation Management and Research Agreement' by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, the IUCN's Pigs, Peccaries and Hippo Specialist Group, the Forest Department, Government of Assam, and the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust has launched a comprehensive conservation strategy including field status surveys of pygmy hogs and their habitats, behavioural studies, personnel training, local community awareness and assistance programmes, and the establishment of a highly successful captive-breeding programme at the Pygmy Hog Research and Breeding Centre in Assam. Active habitat management has been established and a reintroduction programme has now been launched. (Narayan, 2006).

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Narayan, G., Deka, P. & Oliver, W. (2008). Porcula salvania. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 5 April 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of critically endangered.
  2. ^ (Hodgson, 1847)
  3. ^ (Oliver, 1980; Oliver & Deb Roy, 1993)
  4. ^ Funk, Stephan M., Sunil Kumar Verma, Greger Larson, Kasturi Prasad, Lalji Singh, Goutam Narayan and John E. Fa (2007). "The pygmy hog is a unique genus: 19th century taxonomists got it right first time round". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 45 (2): 427–436. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.08.007. PMID 17905601. 
  5. ^ Horsfield, Thomas 1849. Brief Notice of several Mammalia and Birds discovered by B. H. Hodgson, Esq., in Upper India. Annals of the Magazine of Natural History. Volume 3: 202 Scanned text
  6. ^ Garson JG (1883). "Notes on the anatomy of Sus salvanius (PorcuIa salvania, Hodgson). Part 1. External characters and visceral anatomy". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London: 413–418. 
  7. ^ (Oliver, 1980; Oliver & Deb Roy, 1993; Pigs, Peccaries and Hippos Status Survey and Action Plan, 1993; Narayan, 2006).
  8. ^ http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/21-pygmy-hog-nests-found-in-manas-national-park/article5822945.ece

References[edit]

Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Source: Wikipedia

Unreviewed

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!