Sunday, March 4, 2012

Pygmy Hog

Porcula salvania
Meet the Pygmy Hog, a tiny little pig found only in Assam, India. They are the smallest members of the pig family. Pygmy Hogs are now a critically endangered species, and it is estimated that there are only 150 left in the wild.

Pygmy Hogs have had a confusing taxonomic history. They were first described back in 1847, and were placed into a brand new genus. But then it was decided that they were actually closely related to the European Wild Boars, and were moved into the genus Sus, which contains several extant species. It wasn't until 2007 that genetic testing confirmed that the original taxonomic placement was correct.

Pygmy Hogs live in areas with tall grasses, which they use to build small sleeping nests while they wander about for food (roots, grasses, insects). Females even build little nests in which to give birth! Once born, the infant hogs will stay hidden in these nests for about a week.

Though the species is Critically Endangered, there is hope for the future. A captive bred population was released into the reserve in 2002, and there are plans for additional reintroductions.

IUCN Status : Critically Endangered
Location : India
Size : Height up to 1ft (30cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Artiodactyla
Family : Suidae -- Genus : Porcula -- Species : P. salvania

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