By the 1960s the world thought that its smallest and rarest wild pig was lost forever. But with over 30 years of dedication from Durrell, the pygmy hog now has a brighter future. And we hope that with your help we will be able to save the pygmy hog forever.
The pig and the tea planter
The pygmy hog comes from the foothill plains south of the Himalayas. Its population has been decimated by habitat destruction due to the expansion of human and cattle populations, uncontrolled thatch burning in the region and the development of commercial plantations.
Durrell became involved with this wonderful little species, which stands at only twelve inches high, when we began advising on a captive breeding programme started by a tea-planter in Assam.
Research and negotiation
Unfortunately these early breeding attempts were unsuccessful. But at this time Durrell also embarked upon what transpired to be over 20 years of field research as well as negotiating with the authorities in Assam. These untiring efforts eventually enabled the region's first ever conservation recovery programme for the pygmy hog to commence in 1995.
Starting with only six hogs caught from the wild, the Durrell team established a breeding centre in Basistha near Guawahati, with the help of a generous grant from the European Community. By 2002 we had over 70 hogs living safe and well at our centre!
The next step…
We are now making plans to establish a second breeding centre and we are also hoping to begin trials to release some captive-bred pygmy hogs back into the wild.
How can I help to save the pygmy hog?
Just £24 buys native Indian grasses for a year for planting in our exterior enclosures in Assam, making the pygmy hogs feel as at home as possible
£3,500 per month is needed to continue the breeding programme and help us to source and establish a second breeding facility adjacent to grassland suitable for releasing our captive bred hogs. It will also enable us to continue our grassland management research and community awareness campaigns, encouraging local people to use the grasses as a cash crop instead of burning it to clear land.
£9,000 is needed to pay for a four-wheel drive vehicle to enable our team to gain access to the remote areas in which they are working