Guwahati, 22 June, 2021: Twelve captive-bred pygmy hogs are being released in Manas National Park of Assam by the Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme (PHCP) at two phases in partnership with Aaranyak, a premier biodiversity conservation organisation in the region.
Of these, eight pygmy hogs were released today while the next release will be on June 25. This is the second batch of pygmy hogs released in the park, after successful release of 14 pygmy hogs last year.
By 2025, the PHCP plans to release a target of 60 pygmy hogs in Manas National Park. The iconic species now returns to their home where their last original population still survives, albeit in declined numbers.
With this release, the total number of pygmy hogs reintroduced into the wild by the PHCP has reached to 142 (67 males, 75 females) which is more than their current original global wild population.
It is worth mentioning that in 1996, six hogs (2 M, 4 F) were captured from Bansbari range of Manas National Park to start the highly successful 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 historical distribution range in Assam were selected for better protection and restoration of alluvial grasslands.
Dr Parag Jyoti Deka, Project Director, PHCP, said, “Conservation of pygmy hog was initiated by famous naturalist Gerald Durrell and his organization Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in 1971. The pygmy hog was brought back from extinction by this excellent partnership effort, and now we are moving towards the establishment of a population across the entire range.”
Dr. Bibhuti Prasad Lahkar, Manas Landscape Administrator of Aaranyak - a key partner of the programme, added that, “The Park authority and conservation partners are jointly managing grassland, and if released pygmy hogs start breeding, it will indicate the success of grassland management. Pygmy hog, being a heritage attribute will also help to restore the past glory of Manas.”