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Khampha Borgayari,Deputy Chief of Bodoland Territorial Council(BTC) of Assam releasing the captive breed pygmy hogs in presence of Andrew Terry of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust(WCT) UK and Dr.Gautam Narayan,Director Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme(PHCP) of Assam at Bornadi Wildlife Sanctuary of Udalguri on May 29.
Khampha Borgayari,Deputy Chief of Bodoland Territorial Council(BTC) of Assam releasing the captive breed pygmy hogs in presence of Andrew Terry of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust(WCT) UK and Dr.Gautam Narayan,Director Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme(PHCP) of Assam at Bornadi Wildlife Sanctuary of Udalguri on May 29.

In a bid to revive the population of critically endangered Pygmy Hogs in its natural habitat a total of 8 captive breed Pygmy Hogs (four male and four female) were formally released in the Barnadi Wildlife Sanctuary of Udalguri of Asssam on May 29 by Khampha Borgayari,Deputy Chief of BTC in presence of Andrew Terry of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust(WCT) UK and Dr.Gautam Narayan,Director Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme(PHCP) of Assam.

The programme was also attended by noted personalities including Jagadish Sarkar, EM,BTC;Lwmsrao Daimari,EM,BTC;Kamali Basumatari MLA Paneri,Nerson Boro, Deputy Speaker,BTC;Robinson Mushahari, Secretary,Forest, BTC;Hiranya Kumar Sarma,Field Director, Manas National Park;Madhurjya Kumar Sarma,DFO,Dhansiri Forest Division, Udalguri; Dr.Parag Deka,specialist of Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme among host of wildlife lovers and media persons.

It is pertinent here to mention that last year on May 21 six numbers of Pygmy Hogs (three male and three female) were released in Barnadi WLS for the first time after more than thirty years of its extinction in Barnadi WLS.The restoration programme was supervised last year by Craig Jones,Daniel Cravan and Bex Bohea of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust of Channel Islands, Jersy, UK.Pygmy Hog is the world’s smallest and rarest extinct suids which only a handful of people can claim to have seen in wild .It is 55 to 71 cm long weighs around 5 to 8 kg and stands 12 inches tall.Once Pygmy Hog was common along the foot hills plains of Himalayas in India,Nepal and Bhutan.By 1980 it was known to be endangered with only two isolated population on record in Manas National Park and in Barnadi Wildlife Sanctuary in Udalguri district.Pygmy Hog featured in the first IUCN/WWF list (1984) of twelve most threatened animal species in the world.The population in Barnadi WLSwas believed to have been lost by 1981 due to massive destruction of forest,burning and unauthorised human settlement.A small number was rediscovered in 1990.But no Pygmy Hog was reported there since 1994.IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) classified it as critically endangered in 1995. Organizations like Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust of UK and Assam Forest Department and Indian government initiated the PHCP (Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme) for its keptive breeding.Accordinly six Pygmy Hogs were captured in Manas National Park in 1996,taken to Basistha breeding centre in Guwahati and then to PHCP Nameri.

Andrew Terry of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust ,UK divulged that they have so far translocated 108 numbers of Pygmy Hogs to various wildlife sanctuaries and National Parks in Assam including Orang NP,Sonai-Rupai WLS,Barnadi WLS etc.Andrew Terry of Durrell WLT said that they had taken up conservation of Pygmy Hog in Assam since 1971.This has been their tenth translocation of Pygmy Hog in Assam.With special reference to Barnadi WLS he said that they had started grassland management in Barnadi WLS during 2015 being supported by Assam government ,PHCP and BTC authority before the translocation of first batch of six Pygmy Hogs on May 21, 2016.”The animal is too meek and shy of human beings and live on mixure of insects and roots”,he added.Speaking on the occasion Khampha Borgayari, Deputy Chief of BTC thanked Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and PHCP headed by Dr.Gautam Narayan for their excellent initiative for the conservation and revival of Pygmy Hogs in Assam.He invited Durrell WCT and PHCP to start working in Manas National Park. He also thanked MK Sarma.DFO,Udalguri Udalguri and staff for the successful restoration of Pygmy Hogs in Barnadi WLS.

Shajid Khan is an independent journalist based in Assam . Currently pursuing his graduation in English literature. In his stinct of journalistic experience he has contributed numerous socio-political and wildlife related articles to national and international print and web based publications. He can be reached at itsshajidkhan@gmail.com.

  • K SHESHU BABU

    The release of pygmy hogs is a positive development for wildlife conservation efforts. The forest area of Assam contains varied animal and plant life. The species should be protected