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Rare pygmy hogs released in Assam’s Manas National Park

Eight captive-bred pygmy hogs, the world’s rarest and smallest wild pigs, were released in the Manas National Park of western Assam.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Eight of 12 captive-bred pygmy hogs, the world’s rarest and smallest wild pigs, were on June 22 released in the Manas National Park of western Assam. The remaining four would be released on June 25.

This is the second batch to have been reintroduced into the wild under the Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme (PHCP) in a year. Fourteen of these animals were released in Manas in 2020.

The PHCP is a collaboration among Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust of UK, Assam Forest Department, Wild Pig Specialist Group of International Union for Conservation of Nature and Union Environment Ministry and is currently being implemented by NGOs Aaranyak and EcoSystems India.

Six hogs — two males and four females — were captured from the Bansbari range of the Manas National Park in 1996 for starting the breeding programme. The reintroduction programme began in 2008 with the Sonai-Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary (35 hogs), Orang National Park (59) and Barnadi Wildlife Sanctuary (22).

With Tuesday’s release, the number of pygmy hogs reintroduced into the wild under the PHCP reached 142, which is more than their current original global wild population.

“Manas has been doing well in conservation in recent years and with the release of these hogs in Bhuyanpara range, the hog population will be increased,” Amal Chandra Sarma, Manas’ Field Director said.

Brought back from near-extinction

“Conservation of pygmy hog was initiated by noted naturalist Gerald Durrell and his trust in 1971. The pygmy hog was brought back from near-extinction by the partnership effort, and now we are moving towards the establishment of a population across the entire range,” PHCP’s Project Director Parag Jyoti Deka said.

By 2025, the PHCP plans to release 60 pygmy hogs in Manas.


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Printable version | Jul 26, 2021 9:10:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/rare-pygmy-hogs-released-in-assams-manas-national-park/article34909685.ece

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