Here at Edinburgh Zoo we are home to a small group of Visayan warty pigs. They can be seen opposite the Egyptian vultures.
They are monitored by the European Endangered Species programme.
Visayan warty pigs (Sus cebifrons negrinus) are native to all six Visayan islands, but can only now be found on the islands of Panay and Negros, having become extinct on the other four islands.
They live in the forests and rainforests of Negros Island, and they have several pairs of warts on their face. They have a mixed diet of fruit, roots, tubers, vegetables and domestic crops.
Although some adult males are solitary, warty pigs usually live in small groups of between five to twelve individuals. Boars and sows are easily told apart, although they are the same greyish-black colour; males are larger and they have three sets of warts on their face.
The warts on the boar’s face are part of a defence mechanism, designed to protect them from sharp tusks when fighting occurs. Boars also grow thick, hairy manes which they can raise to increase their size and presence, not only when they feel threatened, but also when they are competing against each other for mating rights. The adult female gives birth to between one to three piglets.
Negros Island warty pigs are under serious threat. Due to their consumption of domestic crops, farmers see them as pests and they are actively hunted not only to protect the harvest but also for their meat. Hunters kill warty pigs by digging traps and setting snares.
Habitat destruction is also a major contributor to the warty pig’s declining numbers; increasing human populations are reducing the forest areas for agriculture land. As the soil is not very nutrient rich, new farmland has to be found every few years so more forests have to be cleared. Where there are humans there are domestic animals and warty hogs and domestic pigs will mate so interbreeding is another danger to the warty pig population.
Conservation programmes have been established in order to protect the existing wild populations with the hope of reintroducing them to islands where they have become extinct. In addition, zoos in the UK, Europe and the United States have established captive breeding programmes. However despite these programs, the future of the species is uncertain.