Pygmy hog

Scientific name: Porcula salvania          Extinction risk:    Critically           Location: Assam                                                           Endangered 

The pygmy hog (Porcula salvania) is the smallest and the rarest wild suid in the world. With estimates of 200 to 300 individuals surviving in the wild and a highly restricted range, the species is currently listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, making the pygmy hog one of the most threatened mammals in the world. As a result the species is also offered the highest legal protection under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act and under Appendix I of CITES.

The pygmy hog measures about 65 cm (25 inches) in length and 25 cm (10 inches) in height and weighs 8 to 9 kg. Females are a little smaller and the newborn babies weigh only 150 ‐ 200 g: that’s about the size of an average grapefruit. A vestigial tail (2.5 cm or 1 inch in adults) and only three pairs of mammary glands distinguishes it from the wild boar (Sus scrofa) along with its small size.

Picture6

Intense pressures on the species habitat over many decades has resulted in the pygmy hog being exterminated from most of its natural range in India and Nepal. In the past, it was found in a narrow strip of tall and wet grassland plains in the area south of Himalayan foothills from Uttar Pradesh to Assam, through Nepal terai and Bengal duars. Currently, the entire wild population is restricted to a single viable population in the wild in Manas Tiger Reserve and a couple of reintroduced populations in Sonai Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary and Orang National Park, all in north‐western Assam.