14 captive-bred pygmy hogs released in wild in Assam

Fourteen captive-bred pygmy hogs were released in Manas National Park in Assam recently.

The pygmy hogs, released by the Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme (PHCP) over two days on May 14 and 17, prior to release in Manas were maintained in the pre-release centre near Nameri National Park for six months.

During the time of translocation from the centre to Manas, Assam State Zoo-cum-Botanical Garden DFO Tejas Mariswamy and Debashish Buragohain, Range Officer, Nameri National Park, were present.

This is a significant milestone in the effort to save one of the most endangered mammals in the world as the original wild stock for the conservation breeding project was captured from the same park about 24 years ago.

The species now returns to their home, where the original population still survives, albeit dramatically declined.

With this, the number of pygmy hogs reintroduced into the wild by PHCP has reached 130 (62 males, 68 females) which is more than their current original global wild population.

In 1996, six hogs – 2 males and 4 females – were captured from Bansbari range of Manas National Park to start the breeding programme.

Later, a young male rescued in 2001, and another male and two females captured in 2013 from the same range joined the captive breeding stock.

Reintroduction of captive hogs in the wild began in 2008. Initially, three protected areas in their past distribution range in Assam were selected for better protection and restoration of alluvial grasslands.

Over the next decade, 35 hogs which included 18 males and 17 females, were released in Sonai-Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary, 59 (26 males, 33 females) in Orang National Park, and 22 (11 males, 11 females) in Barnadi Wildlife Sanctuary.

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