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Pygmy Hog (Porcula salvinia/Sus salvanius)

Pygmy Hogs Reintroduced in Assam

  • Context (TH | IE): Eighteen captive-bred pygmy hogs are released in Assam’s Manas National Park, their historical habitat, under the Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme (PHCP).

Pygmy Hog (Porcula salvinia/Sus salvanius)

  • Pygmy Hog is the world’s smallest wild pig.
  • It is one of the indicator species of grassland habitats.
    • It lives in sociable family groups of up to 20, led by a matriarch.
    • Pygmy hog-sucking Louse is a critically endangered parasite that feeds only on Pygmy Hogs.
    • Distribution: This rare pig species is found only in Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam. Earlier, it was located across north India, Nepal, and Bhutan.
    • Habitat: It lives in dense, tall riverine grasslands.
    • Threats: Habitat loss and hunting.
    • Conservation Status: IUCN: EN | CITES: Appendix I | WPA: Schedule I

Manas Pygmy Hog (Porcula salvinia/Sus salvanius)

Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme (PHCP)

  • PHCP was launched in 1996 by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust along with the MoEF, the IUCN, and local NGOs, EcoSystems India & Aaranyak.
  • It maintains a captive population and reintroduces hogs in protected areas of Assam.

Why the Conservation of Pygmy Hogs is Crucial to India’s Wildlife Protection Goals

  • Pygmy hogs are an indicator species.
  • Pygmy hogs only live in the wet high grasslands at the foothills of the Himalayas.
  • It is also the habitat for other rarities such as the one-horned rhinoceros, hog deer, Eastern barasingha, tiger, water buffalo, lesser florican and the hispid hare.
  • So, if pygmy hogs are not around, it means something is seriously wrong with the habitat, which, in turn, would endanger the fate of the other animals.
  • Indicator species presence, absence or abundance reflects a specific environmental condition.

Manas National Park and Tiger Reserve

  • It is a UNESCO Natural World Heritage site located on the Himalayan Foothills.
  • It is contiguous with the Royal Manas National Park (Bhutan).
  • Manas River (a tributary of Brahmaputra) passes through the heart of the National Park.
  • The bhabar-terai region with riverine succession makes it one of the richest areas of biodiversity.
  • Vegetation: Semi-evergreen forests, moist & dry deciduous forests, savanna woodland, & grasslands.
  • Major Fauna: Hispid hare, pygmy hog, wild water buffalo, rhinoceros (reintroduced in 2007), elephants, sambar, Chinese pangolin, clouded leopards.
  • Major Avifauna: It has the world’s largest population of the endangered Bengal florican. Other major bird species include great hornbills, pelicans, eagles, and herons.

Manas National Park

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