Assam State Zoo has welcomed two pygmy hogs into the family to become the only zoo in the world to house pygmy hogs. One pair of the critically endangered species was recently transferred from Pygmy Hog Conservation Centre located at Basistha to the Assam State Zoo under proper monitoring.
Locally known as ‘Nol Gahori’, the pygmy hog is the smallest species of pigs. Its population is estimated to be just about 250 adults in the wild. The pygmy hog is the sole representative of the genus Porcula, a species that was described to science by Brian Houghton Hodgson in 1847.
Pygmy Hog Conservation Project was started in 1995 and is headed by Dr Parag Deka and Gautam Narayan. Under the programme, six pygmy hogs were taken from Manas National Park for captive breeding, and later re-wilding of the hogs began with a number of them being released in Sonai Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary and Manas National Park. At present in Assam, the pygmy hog is found only in three places – Manas National Park, Sonai Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary and Orang National Park.