Researchers in Java, Indonesia, were thrilled to announce the first ever captured footage of the elusive and almost extinct species Javan warty pig, also known and referred to as the “World’s Ugliest Pig.”
The species, which was previously thought to have become extinct, was caught on the wild with the camera traps set up by the researchers for the study designed by Dr. Johanna Rode-Margono, a South East Asia field program coordinator at the U.K.’s Chester Zoo, alongside Indonesian researcher and Project Manager, Shafia Zahra, according to Fox News.
“Javan warty pigs are of a similar body size to European wild boar but are a bit more slender and have longer heads. Males have three pairs of enormous warts on their faces. It is these characteristics that have led to them being affectionately labelled as ‘the world’s ugliest pig’ but, certainly to us and our researchers, they are rather beautiful and impressive,” she said in a statement in Act for Wildlife.
The researchers surveyed seven locations in Java for the study between June 2016 and May 2017. However, the pigs were only found to be present at four the of the surveyed sites, which made researchers believe that the species is likely to be extinct in the three other areas.
Since the first phase – locating of the Javan warty pigs – was proven to be successful, the second phase of the study is now underway. Researchers are now trying to estimate the exact number of population of the Javan warty pig and evaluate the kind of impact that hunting is having on the species.
“Indeed the Javan warty pig is a special animal. They are unique and can only be found in Java. Little is known about them and that very fact means we need to preserve them. We Just don’t know what havoc it could wreak for other wildlife if they go extinct,” Rode-Margono said.
The pigs were also often perceived as crop raiders, which is why some farmers hunt them, according to Shafia. They were also being hunted for their meat, and tragically, some hunters do this for sport.
The Javan warty pig has been listed as an endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It was estimated that the population of the species has decreased drastically by 50% since 1982. Unfortunately, there is no known population statistics for how many of the “World’s Ugliest Pig” is still remaining in Java.
Featured image via YouTube / Act for Wildlife