Have you met a rockstar pig? Well, you are less likely to meet one anywhere in the world as the creature can be found in the Visayas only. The pig which is distinct for its mohawk (males only) is the elusive Visayan warty pig (Sus cebifrons).
The Visayan warty pig is known by many local names including baboy ilahas (wild pig in Hiligaynon, Cebuano, and Waray), baboy talonon (forest pig in Hiligaynon), baboy sulop (dark pig in Cebuano), and baboy ramo (wild boar in Waray).
Below are the interesting facts about the Visayan warty pig.
Only males have warts
Aside from their stiff and spiky mane running from the head to the tail, the males of the are the only ones growing warts. Experts believe that the three pairs of facial warts are additional defense against their rivals.
Endemic to Visayas
One of the facts about the Visayan Warty Pig, is that it is found only on the six islands in Visayas: Cebu, Guimaras, Masbate, Negros, Panay, and Siquijor. However, the remaining population presently inhabits the wilderness of Panay and Negros islands only.
Their population is critically endangered
The Visayan warty pig is one of the rarest pigs in the world. There are only about 300 of them in captivity while their population in the wild is unknown. The decrease in population is attributed to habitat loss due to commercial logging, slash-and-burn agriculture, hunting, and genetic contamination due to crossbreeding with feral domestic pigs.
Can survive in captivity
Despite their diminishing population in the wild, the Visayan warty pig survives and breeds well in captivity. In fact, some zoos and facilities in Europe and USA have acquired and presently maintain the species. In the Philippines, they can be found in Crocolandia Foundation in Cebu, Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation, and Talarak Foundation, Inc. – both in Bacolod City. These facilities hope to raise these creatures and reintroduce them into the wild to eventually increase their population.
Live in groups
Piglets start to become independent from the mother starting at about six months of age. They then live in groups of four to six; however, unattached male can live on their own or in a group with other unattached males.
Excellent sense of smell
Aside from fruits, the pig’s favorite food includes roots, tubers, and bulbs which they can locate even several feet underground due to their excellent sense of smell. Their rooting, in turn, aerates the soil which is beneficial in regenerating the forests.
Protected under Philippine law
Due to their conservation status, the Visayan warty pig is now protected by Philippine law, but sadly, it is not strictly enforced due to various forces including the lack of resources.
READ MORE: Animals Unique to the Philippines