Visayan Warty Pig
Scientific Name: Sus cebifrons
The Visayan warty pig, so named for its three pair of fleshy protuberances on the side of its snout, was not recognized as its own distinct species until 1993.
One of the most endangered species of wild pig, the Visayan warty pig occupies only 5% of its original range. In the wild, they only live in small fragmented populations on two Philippine islands. Threats to their existence include habitat destruction, population fragmentation, persecution as a result of their crop raiding habits, and hunting by locals for food. Domestic pig populations also pose a threat by interbreeding with wild Visayan Warty Pigs, producing genetically hybridized offspring.
STATUS: Visayan warty pigs are considered critically endangered. The Philippine government has established rescue and breeding centers to help preserve these beautiful animals (warts & all!). Regulations are in place but enforcement is difficult. The Los Angeles Zoo has been participating in an international captive breeding program since 1995 to help increase their numbers.
HABITAT: Visayan warty pigs presently live on two Visayan islands located in the central Philippines: Panay Island and Negros Island. They live in dense, tropical rain forests where rainfall may reach 94 inches per year. They love to wallow in the mud for hours and are strong swimmers.
DIET: Like most pigs, Visayan warty pigs are omnivorous, which means they will eat just about anything. They love forest fruits, roots, tubers, fungi, bulbs and nuts, in addition to small invertebrates, vertebrates and even carrion. They have also been known to emerge from the safety of the forest to plunder cultivated crops. Because of this, many farmers consider them pests.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Visayan warty pig, like many island species, is relatively small in size when compared to other wild pigs. They stand 2½ to 3 feet tall. Males (boars) are much larger than females (sows). Their long, mobile, disk-like snout helps them root around in the earth for their favorite foods. The males possess large canines that protrude from their mouth as tusks. They have a prominent line of white fur across the snout that extends along the sides of the jaw. Their senses of smell and hearing are extremely keen.
Visayan warty pig boars grow a long, coarse, floppy mane at the beginning of each breeding season (usually from November until February/March) and then shed it when breeding season is over. The sows seem to find this feature simply irresistible.