Rare pygmy hogs released into wild

 
Published: Sunday 15 June 2008

Wild pygmy hog (Credit: GOUTAM NARAYAN)After over 10 years of captive breeding, scientists have released 16 wild pygmy hogs--the world's smallest wild pig with a height of 25-30 centimetres--into the grasslands of Sonai Rupai wildlife sanctuary in Assam.

The World Conservation Union (iucn) classifies wild pygmy hogs (Porcula salvania) as critically endangered. Once spread across the southern foothills of the Himalayas in India, Nepal and Bhutan, only 150 individuals are now found in Assam. "The pygmy hog was thought to be extinct in the 1960s as its habitat was disappearing due to human encroachment. It was rediscovered in Assam in 1971," says John Fa of Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme (phcp) that was established in 1995 for recovery of the species through captive breeding. phpc is now working with the sanctuary authorities to control dry season burning of grasses to restore the species' habitat.

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