Wild and feral pigs are established around the world. While the largest pig species are in no danger, with widespread populations over several continents, two species are critically endangered. Humans are the greatest predators of wild pigs, although other carnivores also prey on piglets and, in some cases, adult pigs.
Pygmy Hogs (Porcula salvania)
The critically endangered pygmy hog is native to the grasslands along the foot of the Himilayas, in Bangladesh, India and Nepal. By the 1960s, the species was believed extinct due to loss of its habitat and hunting. In 1971, however, a small group of pygmy hogs was discovered living in and around the Manas National Park in Assam, India. The pygmy hog's current population is estimated at 250 pigs. While illegal hunting is still a danger to these small hogs, crows, mongooses and small wildcats prey on the piglets and eagles, hawks, pythons and tigers prey on the adult hogs.
Visayan Warty Pigs (Sus cebifrons)
Protected by Philippine law, the Vaisayan warty pig is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Native to the central islands of the Phillippines, the Vaisayan warty pig is now found on only two islands, Negros and Panay. The Vaisayan warty pig is in the most danger from humans and the destruction of 95 percent of its habitat. In addition to human predators, the pigs are rapidly interbreeding with domesticated pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus) and producing hybrids, further reducing the numbers of purebred Vaisayan warty pigs.
Red River Hog (Potamochoerus porcus)
Africa's red river hog's name is based on its unusual reddish-brown hair. This hog prefers to live near rivers or in wet habitats. It's a social animal, living in groups that mostly graze at night. Unlike many other species, the red river hog has been helped by human intrusion into its territory. With the increase in human activity and loss of habitat, the red river hog's predators -- hyenas, leopards, lions, hyenas and snakes -- are being pushed back, away from the farmlands.
European Wild Boar (Sus scrofa)
With a wide range across northern and central Europe, and introduced in multiple countries around the world, the European wild boar has thrived under domestication and in the wild. Because wild boars live around the world in a variety of habitats, their predators include brown bears, crocodiles, foxes, leopards, lynx, tigers and wolves.
In North America, Australia, Europe and Africa, many wild pigs are actually feral domesticated pigs and their hybrids. In some cases, the pigs escaped captivity. In others, they were deliberately released for hunting. In any case, feral pigs have thrived, establishing growing populations in California, Florida and Texas, the islands of Hawaii, and across Australia along waterways and in the rainforest. Like the European wild boar, feral pigs and their piglets are preyed on by a number of carnivores, including alligators, bobcats, coyotes, dingos, golden eagles and mountain lions.
- San Diego Zoo: Animal Bytes: Wild Swine (Pigs, Hogs, & Boars)
- International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species -- Porcula Salvania
- Ultimate Ungulate: Porcula Salvania
- International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species -- Sus Cebifrons
- Oregon Zoo: Visayan Warty Pig
- Sacramento Zoo: Red River Hog
- Trees for Life: Wild Boar
- Animal Diversity Web: Sus Scrofa - Wild Boar
- Wildlife Damage Management: Feral Pigs
- New South Wales Department of Primary Industries: Feral Pig Biology
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With degrees in fine and commercial art and Spanish, Ruth de Jauregui is an old-school graphic artist, book designer and published author. De Jauregui authored 50 Fabulous Tomatoes for Your Garden, available as an ebook. She enthusiastically pursues creative and community interests, including gardening, home improvement and social issues.