The World's Rarest Pig
The Bawean Warty Pig is endemic to Bawean - a small island of approximately 190 km2, situated in the Java Sea 120 km north of the island of Java. It is one of the rarest pig species in the world, along with Visayan warty pig (Sus cebifrons) and pygmy hogs (Porcula salvania). The Warty Pig is listed as “Data Deficient” in the Red Book, emphasising the extreme lack of knowledge of the species.
Southeast Asia and especially Indonesia is facing one of the highest deforestation rates worldwide. The habitat loss poses a significant threat to many species. Bawean forest cover has also been reduced to 10%, due to the conversion of forest to agricultural land and teak plantation. Following the encroachment of agricultural land into forests, pigs also forage on crops, and are subsequently hunted for pest control. Additionally, warty pigs increasingly hybridise with Eurasian wild pig possibly due to the need to share the decreasing habitat, which puts an additional pressure on the species.
The aim of the project, funded by Stiftung Artenschutz, is to conduct the first conservation and research field project on Bawean warty pigs, in order to lay the basis for an effective conservation planning and long term monitoring programme for the species.
The required baseline data will be acquired through collecting essential data on the population size, distribution, biology, ecology and taxonomy of the species. As local communities play a significant role in the conservation of this legally unprotected species, public awareness campaign and interviews with local community members will be conducted.
Preliminary results show that numbers of mature animals may be below 250, the threshold for an IUCN Red List assessment of „Critically Endangered“. The discovery that European wild pigs are not present on the island makes the location very important for conservation.