Friday, May 16, 2008

Little piggies saved from the market

The world’s smallest and rarest pig, which was once feared extinct, is ready to re-enter the wild again. Pygmy hogs were thought to have been wiped out in the 1960s until two small populations were found in northern Assam in India in 1971. After a 13-year captive breeding program led by Durrell Wildlife, the Jersey-based conservation centre founded by the author Gerald Durrell, the descendants of those surviving hogs are being reintroduced to their natural habitat at the foot of the Himalayas. The 16 hogs due to return to the wild - taken from a captive population of only 79 - have been kept in large pre-release enclosures that replicate their natural habitat for the past five months and have become progressively shyer, their keepers say. “Up to release date, the hogs have shown naturalistic behavior and an aversion to human contact, which is a positive sign that they will fair well when released.” Source: Times Online (via Boing Boing)

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