While a lot of people wouldn’t think of pigs as being ‘good looking’, there is an uncontested winner for the title of ‘world’s ugliest pig’. This porker was feared extinct but has recently been spotted on a trail camera.

The Javan Warty Pig won’t be winning any beauty pageants, but scientists have snapped a picture showing that the species does have a chance at continued existence.

The warty pig has been on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) endangered species list since 1996.

Their numbers had dwindled to the point they were feared extinct due to a combination of excessive hunting and continued loss of suitable habitat. Dr. Johanna Rode-Margono from Chester Zoo lead the survey, she told BBC News, “We were worried that all or most would have disappeared.”

“There is still hope,” Dr. Rode-Margono said, “If we can manage to design some effective conservation projects, maybe we can keep them.” A captive breeding program has been established to ensure these less than beautiful beasts survive.

“For me, they are not ugly they are beautiful. And everything in our ecosystem is connected, every tree, every plant, every animal. They depend on each other. If something breaks away, something else [could] breakaway, and that’s a chain reaction where we can’t foresee what will happen.”

These unsightly swine play an important ecological role to the tropical forests they are native too. Not only do they till the soil by rooting for insects, but they spread seeds and clear brush to allow young saplings to take root.

 

SOURCES:

  1. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/21174/0
  2. http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-42433938

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