Footage of an almost extinct species known as the “world’s ugliest pig” has been captured in the wild for the first time.
Researchers on the Indonesian island of Java caught the elusive Javan warty pig on camera traps.
The research study was designed by Dr. Johanna Rode-Margono, South East Asia field program coordinator at the U.K.’s Chester Zoo.
Seven locations were surveyed on Java between June 2016 and May 2017, but pigs were only found to be present at four of the sites. The species is likely to be extent at the other three sites, according to researchers.
“Javan warty pigs are of a similar body size to European wild boar but are a bit more slender and have longer heads,” she said, in a statement. “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.”
Rode-Margono worked alongside Indonesian researcher and Project Manager Shafia Zahra to set up the study.
The Javan warty pig is classed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which notes that the species was widespread on Java as recently as 1982. However, hunting and a decline in suitable habitat have slashed the pig population by 50 percent over approximately the last 18 years and is now absent from most of Java. It survives only in certain pockets of Java. There are no known population statistics for the Javan warty pig.
Experts are now working to estimate the exact size of the Javan warty pig population and measure the impact of hunting on the species.