Sus ahoenobarbus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Suidae

Scientific Name: Sus ahoenobarbus Huet, 1888
Common Name(s):
English Palawan Bearded Pig
Sus balabacensis Forsyth Major, 1897
Sus barbatus Huet, 1888 ssp. ahoenobarbus
Sus calamianensis Heude, 1892
Sus palavensis Nehring, 1889
Taxonomic Notes: Sus ahoenobarbus is a monotypic species restricted to the Palawan Faunal Region of the Philippines, differing genetically from S. barbatus, with which it was formerly lumped (Lucchini et al. 2005). The latter study indicates closer relationship to the Visayan Warty Pig (S. cebifrons), whereas morphology and presence of 38 chromosomes (versus 36 chromosomes present in pig species in the oceanic Philippines) (Oliver 1995) indicate closer relationship with S. barbatus. Hybridization between S. barbatus and S. cebifrons may be one possible explanation for the similarities, however until further research is undertaken, the phylogeny of the species remains unresolved (Meijaard et al. 2011).

Sanborn (1952) tentatively suggested that two subadult specimens from Busuanga may belong to a distinct form calamianensis, although measurements were not markedly different from subadult specimens from Palawan.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-06-11
Assessor(s): Meijaard, E. & Widmann, P.
Reviewer(s): Chiozza, F.
Contributor(s): Oliver, W.R.T.
Sus ahoenobarbus is endemic to the Philippines, where it is restricted to the Palawan Faunal Region. Although declining and occurring at ten islands of the Palawan Faunal Region, its extent of occurrence (EOO) considerably exceeds the criterion B threshold of 20,000 km² to warrant listing as Vulnerable under criterion B1. Hence, the species is here listed as Near Threatened, because it almost qualifies as threatened under criterion B1.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

This species is endemic to the Palawan Faunal Region in the Philippines at the northeastern edge of Sundaland. It is recorded from the main island of Palawan, as well as some of its larger satellite islands: Balabac, Bugsuk, Busuanga, Calauit, Coron, Culion, Dumaran, Linapacan, Pandanan (Esselstyn et al. 2004, Meijaard et al. 2011, Widmann et al. 2008). It has also been recorded from some smaller islands close to main island of Palawan, but is unclear if these are permanently inhabited. Fossil records from the late Pleistocene exist from Quezon in southern Palawan (Reis and Garong 2001), as well as from El Nido, northern Palawan, from the late Pleistocene to late Holocene (Piper et al. 2011).

Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Number of Locations:10
Upper elevation limit (metres):1500
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The species remains relatively widely, if patchily, distributed. Although still locally common in some areas, it is in decline due to habitat attrition and heavy hunting pressure in many areas (Caldecott et al. 1993, Oliver 1992, Esselstyn et al. 2004).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

The species is recorded from contiguous and fragmented forests from sea level to montane forest up to 1,500 m asl, as well as cultivated areas (Esselstyn et al. 2004). It is still relatively common in more remote hill forests within the Mantalingahan, Victoria/Anepahan and Pagdanan Mountain Ranges as indicated by frequent tracks and feeding signs. Until recently common in grassland-forest mosaics in Calauit (Sariego pers. comm. 2016). Association to grassland areas is reflected in the local name 'baboy damo', which means grass pig. The species is recorded from all major forest types in Palawan, including evergreen and semi-evergreen montane, hill and lowland, ultramafic, limestone and mangrove forests. Wetlands are regularly frequented, particularly those inside or bordering to forest areas.


Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The species is locally hunted for food.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The Palawan Bearded Pig is the largest remaining member of Palawan’s megafauna and is therefore a prime target for hunting, both for subsistence and the bushmeat trade (Cruz et al. 2009, Lacerna and Widmann 1999, Meijaard et al. 2011). A traditional hunting method still in practice in more remote locations involves the use of snares made of heavy palm shafts and bamboo tips set at pig shoulder height, which both serves to secure meat, but in the past also to deter human intruders (Hoogstraal 1951). Dogs are commonly used to corner pigs, which then are shot with low powered rifles or speared with short bamboo shafts with detachable iron tips. ‘Pig bombs’ often consisting of a carved-out sweet potato and filled with explosives, glass, porcelain or metal splinters as well as a trigger, are used both to deter wild pigs from raiding fields, but also to secure meat. Once the pigs chew on the bait, the explosive goes off, causing horrendous injuries to the jaws which almost always, but usually not immediately, are fatal (Lacerna and Widmann 1999, Meijaard et al. 2011).

Although most of the hunting serves subsistence purposes, there exists a considerable bushmeat trade in Palawan as well. Formerly meat often was bartered for goods, but increasingly middlemen and collectors buy wildlife products in regular intervals, including meat of wild pigs. Restaurants in rural areas, but also in the provincial capital of Puerto Princesa City, were known to offer meat of wild pigs on their menu. Price for bushmeat in 2006 was double that of that of domestic pigs (Meijaard et al. 2011).

Occasionally live wild piglets are traded as well. Palawan Bearded Pigs were reported to be kept as pets within the province, or, similar to domestic pigs, were raised to adult size and then slaughtered.

Domestic pigs are often roaming freely in wild pig habitats, and recently Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs were introduced into an area in northern Palawan. Hybridization with domestic pigs is known to be a problem with other Philippine wild pigs (Oliver 1995), but it is not known if this occurred already in Palawan.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is legally protected by Philippine wildlife protection legislation, including a whole suite of legislation pertaining to the Palawan region. However, implementation of such legislation is generally poorly enforced in most areas – including some designated ‘protected areas’. Priority requirements therefore include the more effective implementation of existing legislation, and addition of new protected areas in key areas, if possible designed to enable greater management control by local governmental authorities than is the case under the existing national protected areas system. Recommendations pertaining to the management of wild pigs in non-protected areas to enable their continued harvest on a sustainable basis (Blouch 1995) are also unlikely to be effectively implemented at the present time.

Citation: Meijaard, E. & Widmann, P. 2017. Sus ahoenobarbus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T21177A44140029. . Downloaded on 19 September 2018.
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