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Extinction Countdown


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Sunday Species Snapshot: Visayan Warty Pig


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Visayan Warty PigThis delightfully ugly, hairy, toothy pig has disappeared from most of its original range. But a few zoos are helping to save it from extinction.

Species name: Visayan warty pig (Sus cebifrons)

Where found: Just two islands in the Philippines. They used to be found on six islands, but that’s the way the habitat crumbles.

IUCN Red List status: Critically endangered. A subspecies of the Visayan warty pig went extinct several years ago.

Major threat: Years of overhunting have taken their toll on the Visayan warty pig. Habitat loss for agriculture and logging (often illegal) have also reduced the amount of land available to the species. Agricultural expansion, meanwhile, turned the pigs into pests in farmers’ eyes. Today the few remaining pigs live in fragmented populations, limiting their ability to maintain healthy breeding groups.

Notable conservation programs: The Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation runs the Visayan Warty Pig Conservation Program, while quite a few zoos around the world have captive breeding programs. These, along with legal protections and protected areas created by the Philippines government, have undoubtedly helped to protect the species, although it has a long way to go before it can be considered recovered.

Multimedia: Speaking of zoos, here’s some video of a few of these guys in safe captivity:

Photo by Heather Paul, via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license

Previous Sunday Snapshots:

John R. Platt About the Author: Twice a week, John Platt shines a light on endangered species from all over the globe, exploring not just why they are dying out but also what's being done to rescue them from oblivion. Follow on Twitter @johnrplatt.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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