The world’s tiniest pigs, previously thought to be extinct, are making a comeback in the wild.
Pygmy hogs stand just 10-inches tall and weigh up to 22 pounds. According to National Geographic, the little pigs were discovered by scientists back in 1847 but were believed to have gone extinct.
However, the species was rediscovered in the 1970s. Within 20 years of their rediscovery, conservationists made the decision to breed the pigs in hopes of increasing their numbers and strengthening their species. The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust shared a photo of the first hoglets born in captivity.
Once bred, the pigs were released into Assam, a state in north-eastern India. Between 2008 and 2020, 130 pygmy hogs were released between the Manas National Park, Orang National Park, Barnadi National Sanctuary, and Sonai Rupai National Sanctuary in Assam.
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Because of the efforts of conservationists, there are now growing numbers of pygmy hogs, with around 300-400 in the wild and an additional 76 in captivity.
According to National Geographic, Parag Deka, the project director of Guhahati’s Pygmy Hog Conservation Program, said, “It’s very important for me to keep going and save this species from extinction. We should all look for a purpose in life. When I got involved in this project, I realised this can give me that purpose.”
Deka also noted that the Pygmy Hog Conservation Program plans to release 60 little pigs into Manas National Park over the next five years. Pygmy hogs are still classified as an endangered species a lot of work needs to be done to ensure their long-term survival.
The Senior Principal Scientist and Professor at Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Govindhaswamy Umapathy, shared that they’re continuing to make efforts in progressing the breeding program and its efficacy.
He said, “we have helped [the Pygmy Hog Conservation Program] to understand reproductive physiology especially on seasonality, gestation length, pregnancy detection, etc.”
Umapathy and his colleagues published a study dedicated to pygmy hog repordiction in the MDPI Journal Animals.
According to the conservation program, the biggest threats to pygmy hogs remain human activity, including human-caused habitat loss due and hunting.
It’s always amazing to hear about a species on the bring of extinction making a comeback. Hopefully future conservation efforts can push pygmy hogs to even stronger population numbers where they’ll no longer be threatenedWhizzco