A whole host of animals around the globe face the genuine threat of imminent extinction, and one of those just happens to be the Javan warty pig.
Image Credit: Dr. Johanna Rode-Margono via BBC
Native to the forests of Java, Indonesia, the Javan warty pig became so difficult to find in recent years that some animal conservationists began thinking that it might have gone extinct. Fortunately, however, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Camera traps erected throughout the local wilderness during a recent wildlife survey found that the Javan warty pig is indeed alive and well despite the controversy concerning its existence. At least three of the animals have been found wandering seven different habitats, but that doesn’t mean the creature is making a comeback.
Decades of hunting and habitat loss have driven the species’ numbers so low that experts fear that they might not be able to escape extinction. Furthermore, habitat fragmentation continues to separate existing breeding pairs and make it more challenging for the animals to reproduce naturally in the wild.
Chester Zoo’s Dr. Johanna Rode-Margono oversaw the most recent survey, and she told BBC News that experts witnessed a significant decline in the Javan warty pig’s population numbers during the previous study back in 2004.
Sadly, you’d be right to assume that the situation hasn’t gotten much better today. The swine’s population continues to dwindle for the very same reasons today that they have been for years.
If their situation wasn't already dire enough, many consider these pigs to be pests because they wander onto crops and 'pig-out' (pardon the pun) on the goodies they find there. Sadly, many kill the animals in the act.
But even the pigs’ happy place, the wilderness itself, isn’t safe. Deforestation and land development each continue to drive the pigs out of their dwellings, forcing them to explore new territory and further fragmenting their natural habitat.
Many people consider the Javan warty pig to be one of the world’s “ugliest” pigs, but for Dr. Rode Margono, they’re a beautiful animal that deserves a second chance.
“There is still hope. If we can manage to design some effective conservation projects, maybe we can keep them,” said Dr. Rode-Margono. "For me, they are not ugly - they are beautiful.”
“Everything in our ecosystem is connected - every tree, every plant, every animal. They depend on each other. If something breaks away, something else [could] break away, and that's a chain reaction where we can't foresee what will happen,” she continued.
As it would seem, conservationists will need to act fast if they’re to have any hope of saving the Javan warty pig from extinction. There aren't many left, and consequently, there isn't much time.