Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Very little is known about the specific biology of the Palawan beaded pig other than what has been inferred in the past from observations of the beaded pigs of Indonesia and Malaysia, Sus barbatus barbatus and S. b. oi. However, the Palawan bearded pig is thought to be much more sedentary than Sus barbatus, dispensing with the periodic mass migrations both the subspecies reportedly undertake (4). All bearded pigs have a diverse diet comprised primarily of fruits and seeds, but also including everything from roots and fungus to small vertebrates and carrion (2) (4). Adult males are normally solitary but the females and young forage in matriarchal family groups, sometimes merging to former larger herds (4). The peak breeding season coincides with the transition from flowering to early fruit formation in the forest, suggesting the pigs may take a visual cue to breed from the falling petals (4). Following mating, the female builds a temporary nest from vegetation in which she will give birth to a litter of 3 to 11 piglets, following a gestation period lasting 90 to 120 days. The nest will only be used by the mother and her piglets for a week to ten days (3) (4).
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Description

Until recently, the bearded pigs of south-east Asia were thought to comprise three subspecies under the scientific name Sus barbatus. However, genetic evidence now shows that the Palawan bearded pig warrants recognition as a distinct species (1) (6) (7). Like its former conspecifics, the Palawan bearded pig has an elongated skull and a dense tuft of coarse, white hair surrounding the cheek and snout. Supported on long legs, its large body is reddish-brown to black and sparsely haired (2) (3) (4). The male is slightly larger than the female and has small but marked facial warts, which are thought to provide protection during head-to-head fights (2) (3) (4) (5).
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Distribution

Range Description

This species is endemic to the Philippines, where it is restricted to the Palawan Faunal Region (Caldecott et al. 1993). The species is known from many locations on Palawan mainland, and is confirmed from Busuanga and Calauit, and reported from diverse other Calamian islands, including Culion and Coron (Rico and Oliver, unpubl). It is also reported from Dumaran to the east of Palawan, and from Balabac and some neighbouring islands to the south of Palawan (Oliver 1995 and unpublished; Heaney et al. 1998).
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Range

Endemic to the Philippines, the Palawan bearded pig only occurs on the islands of Balabac, Palawan and Calamian (4).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species occurs in forest habitats (including fragmented forest) from sea level to montane forest at 1,500 m (Esselstyn et al. 2004) in a wide range of habitats: from primary and secondary forest to cultivated and managed areas, even neighbouring human habitations (Rabor 1986).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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The Palawan bearded pig lives and forages mainly in evergreen forests, from sea-level up to around 1,500 metres, but is also known to encroach on cultivated land on forest edges (4) (6).
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
B1ab(iii,v)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Oliver, W.

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

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Vulnerable because its extent of occurrence is less than 20,000 km², its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its forest habitat, and in the number of mature individuals due to over-hunting.

History
  • 2000
    Vulnerable
  • 1996
    Lower Risk/near threatened
    (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
  • 1994
    Rare
    (Groombridge 1994)
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Status

Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).
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Population

Population
The species remains relatively widely, if patchily, distributed. Although still locally common in some areas, it is in decline due to habitat attrition and heavy hunting pressure in many areas (Caldecott et al. 1993, Oliver 1992, Esselstyn et al. 2004).

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
This species is heavily hunted throughout most of its range on the Palawan mainland and offshore islands. Hunting methods include snares, low caliber rifles, and small, baited explosive devices known as ‘‘pig bombs’’ (Esselstyn et al. 2004). It is also threatened by encroachment into forest areas (slash and burn agriculture). Due to the geography of Palawan, edge effects are a major problem. However, hybridization with free-ranging domesticates of ex-S. scrofa origin, which besets other Philippine wild pig species ,is not known to be a threat to this species.
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As a result of heavy hunting and rapid habitat loss over an already restricted range, the Palawan bearded pig is the most threatened bearded pig in south-east Asia (8) (9). High rates of population growth, coupled with low-income are forcing local people into subsistence agriculture at the expense of Palawan's wildlife-rich forests (10). Furthermore, despite the banning of commercial logging throughout the Palawan province in the 1990s, small-scale illegal operations are still responsible for continued depletion of forested areas (6). The impact deforestation is having on the Palawan bearded pig is compounded by intensive hunting for meat and, in particular, the increased use of non-traditional hunting methods such as explosives (6) (8) (11).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The species is legally protected by Philippine wildlife protection legislation, including a whole suite of legislation pertaining to the Palawan region. However, implementation of such legislation is generally poorly enforced in most areas – including some designated ‘protected areas’. Priority requirements therefore include the more effective implementation of existing legislation, and addition of new protected areas in key areas, if possible designed to enable greater management control by local governmental authorities than is the case under the existing national protected areas system. Recommendations pertaining to the management of wild pigs in non-protected areas to enable their continued harvest on a sustainable basis (Blouch 1995) are also unlikely to be effectively implemented at the present time.
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Conservation

As of yet, there are no conservation measures in place specifically targeting the Palawan bearded pig. One of the most significant limitations to developing a conservation strategy is that so little information, particularly concerning its populations status, is known. An action plan written in 1993 by the IUCN Pigs, Peccaries and Hippos Specialist Group stressed the need for basic research to establish, amongst other things, the size and range of the existing population (4). Fifteen years on, and with no reason to believe the Palawan bearded pig is any less threatened than it was in the early 1990s, this basic information still appears to be lacking.
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Wikipedia

Palawan bearded pig

The Palawan bearded pig (Sus ahoenobarbus) is a species of pig endemic to the Philippines, where it can only be found on the archipelago of islands formed by Balabac, Palawan, and the Calamian Islands. They are 1 to 1.6 metres (3.3 to 5.2 ft) in length, about 1 metre (3.3 ft) tall and weigh up to 150 kilograms (330 lb).

Until recently, it was considered a subspecies of the Bornean bearded pig (Sus barbatus), but at least under the phylogenetic species concept, it must be classified as a separate species. For its treatment under other (and more widely used) species concepts, more study is required, but the presently available information seems to argue for full species status in any case.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Oliver, W. (2008). Sus ahoenobarbus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 4 November 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of vulnerable.
  2. ^ Lucchini, Meijaard, Diong, Groves and Randi (2005). New phylogenetic perspectives among species of South-east Asian wild pig (Sus sp.) based on mtDNA sequences and morphometric data. J. Zool., Lond. 266: 25–35
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