I’m glad someone is working to save the tiny pigs, but frankly, this article just makes me want to go on a tiny pig hunting vacation in India.
Who would imagine that in the habitat of elephants, tigers, and rhinos, the world’s smallest wild hog is the animal that’s determining where the conservation dollars go?
Like the keystone in an arch that holds all the others in place, the endangered pygmy hog of North India is the keystone species of the Terai grasslands, and while those other large mammals can live elsewhere, the hog cannot. Therefore you have a situation where protecting a 10-inch tall pig has the added benefit of protecting the 300-pound tigers and 8-ton elephants.
Presumed extinct until it was discovered in 1971 in the Indian state of Assam by a tea plantation worker, it wasn’t until the 1990s that conservationists began breeding the pygmy hogs in captivity.
Fortunately the hogs, which represent the last living species in the genus porcula, breed like, well, pigs, and now between 300-400 are roaming the Terai grasslands again—while another 74 stay in captivity awaiting reintroduction.
I like the idea of conservation, but the concept of reintroducing animals seems probably silly. If an animal went extinct (or nearly so), it was for a reason. Even if the reason is human activity, if you don’t change human activity, you’re fighting a losing battle.
I doubt this tiny pig can escape a determined house cat. House cats are everywhere in the 21st century because they kill disease-spreading rats. Probably, we’re eventually just going to have to accept that anything that can’t outrun or fight back against a house cat is simply not going to continue to exist.