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African Swine Fever and Pygmy Hogs

  • 03 May 2023
  • 3 min read

Why in News?

According to an article published in the journal ‘Science’, the African Swine Fever could fatally affect the population of pygmy hogs, the world’s rarest and smallest pigs.

  • The disease has already decimated porcine (related to pigs) populations across Asia since its advent in China in 2018.


  • ASF was first detected in Africa in the 1920s; however, the disease has been reported across Africa, Asia and Europe, in both domestic and wild pigs.
  • The mortality rate is close to 95% - 100% and since the fever has no cure, the only way to stop its spread is by culling the animals.
  • ASF is a disease listed in the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)’s Terrestrial Animal Health Code.

What are the Characteristics of Pygmy Hog?

  • Scientific Name:
    • Porcula Salvania
  • Features:
    • It is one of the very few mammals that build its own home, or nest, complete with a ‘roof’.
    • It is also an indicator species. Its presence reflects the health of its primary habitat, the tall, wet grasslands of the region.
  • Habitat:
    • It thrives in wet grassland.
    • Once, it used to be found along a narrow strip of tall and wet grassland plains on the Himalayan foothills – from UP to Assam, through Nepal’s terai areas, Bhutan and Bengal’s duars.
      • Today, it is found only in India (Assam)
  • Protection Status:
  • Threats:
    • Habitat (grassland) loss and degradation
    • Illegal hunting
  • Conservation Effort - Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme 1995:
    • Once thought to be extinct, it was rediscovered in 1971. The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, UK, initiated the Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme in 1995 in collaboration with IUCN, Assam Forest Department and MoEF&CC.
      • It is currently being implemented by NGOs - Aaranyak and EcoSystems India.
    • Between 2008 and 2022, 152 of them were reintroduced into four protected areas (PAs) in Assam, including the recent release of 36 individuals in Manas National Park.
      • Between 2011 and 2015 animals were reintroduced into the Orang National Park.
      • By 2025, the PHCP plans to release 60 pygmy hogs in Manas NP.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Questions (PYQs)


Q. Consider the following: (2013)

  1. Star tortoise
  2. Monitor lizard
  3. Pygmy hog
  4. Spider monkey

Which of the above are naturally found in India?

(a) 1, 2 and 3 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 4 only 
(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

Ans: (a)

Source: DTE

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