Why Only 250 Bawean Warty Pigs are Left in the Wild
They're notoriously difficult to catch on camera.
The tiny Indonesian island of Bawean is home to the last of a dying breed of small warty pigs. Despite their skin condition, warty pigs are pretty cute. Unfortunately, there are fewer than 250 mature adults left alive in the world.
According to a new study in PLOS ONE, Bawean Warty Pigs are heavily endangered. They only live on Bawean, and their range doesn’t even cover the whole island. They’re usually nocturnal, coming out at night to root around in the forest for grubs, insects, and other food. The researchers set up a series of cameras in the forest to catch them on tape and try to count how many adult individuals were still alive on the island. Bawean’s isolation and small size make it home to several other endemic (uniquely local) species, some of whom are also endangered. The Bawean deer for example, is listed as critically endangered, and also has fewer than 250 adult members alive on the island, and in the world. The researcher’s paper recommends that the Bawean warty pigs go on the IUCN Red List of endangered species, which they weren’t on before.
Bawean warty pigs are similar to many other indigenous species of wild pigs in Indonesia, but the males have three distinctive pairs of enormous warts on either side of their face. Their preferred habitat on the island is in community-owned forests, and they love root tubers (which are also commonly farmed by locals). This puts them in danger of conflict (i.e. bang, bang) from farmers protecting their crops.
If the pigs are listed as endangered, researchers hope they’ll have extra visibility and conservation attention from residents and conservationists alike. Johanna Rode-Margono told Eureka Alert that the warty pigs were “one of the rarest pig species on earth.”
Here are some juveniles (tiny cute baby pigs) checking out the researcher’s camera.
Rode-Margono put together a full video with some more warty pig footage, which you can watch below.
And here’s some more footage of one of the pigs hanging out near some monkeys.
The Eureka Alert released notes that the team still has a lot of research to do on the pigs, which will help them determine the rare species’ conservation needs. We hope more of that research will include cute pig videos.