A recent study carried out by a group of scientists explained how conservation action saves species from extinction.

The study focused on India’s Pygmy Hog – one of the most endangered mammals and the world’s smallest pig.

The study highlighted that Pigmy Hog is one of the species saved by the timely conservation action in India.

The iconic species is saved from extinction by a holistic conservation action and breeding project launched 24 years ago.

In the path breaking study, it was found that conservation action prevented 21 to 32 birds and 7 to 16 mammals from extinctions since 1993.

Similarly, 9 to 18 birds and two to seven mammal species were saved from extinctions since 2010.

Considering that the 10 birds and five mammal species did go extinct (or are strongly suspected to) since 1993, extinction rates would have been 2.9–4.2 times greater without the conservation action.

The Pygmy Hog is found in alluvial grasslands in the foothills of the Himalayas, in southern Bhutan and in Assam.

It is popularly known as Nol Gahori in Assam and is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List, and was once thought to have extinct.

But, the success of captive breeding dramatically increased after the Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme (PHCP), which was established in 1995.

The PHCP was part of an International Conservation Management and Research Agreement by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, the IUCN’s Pigs, Peccaries and Hippo Specialist Group, the Forest Department of Assam, and the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

The establishment of a highly successful captive-breeding programme at the Pygmy Hog Research and Breeding Centre at Guwahati in Assam saved the species from extinction.

After a successful captive-breeding, an active habitat management has been established and a reintroduction programme has now been launched.

Now, the project is a collaborative effort involving the key partners: Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Aaranyak, Assam Forest Department, EcoSystems-India, IUCN/SSC Wild Pig Specialist Group and Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change.

While works of habitat management and reintroduction programme is going on, the team is now working towards restoration of sub-Himalayan grassland and reconnecting people with the grassland biodiversity.

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