Hylochoerus meinertzhageni 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Suidae

Scientific Name: Hylochoerus meinertzhageni Thomas, 1904
Common Name(s):
English Forest Hog, Giant Forest Hog
French Hylochère
Spanish Hiloquero
Taxonomic Notes: Following Grubb (1993, 2005) and d'Huart and Kingdon (2013), three subspecies are provisionally recognized: Hylochoerus. m. ivoriensis, which occurs as isolated populations from Guinea to southern Ghana; H. m. rimator, which ranges from southeast Nigeria to eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo; and the nominate race H. m. meinertzhageni (the true Giant Forest Hog), which occurs as scattered populations from the Albertine Rift Highlands of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo to the eastern (Gregory) Rift Valley in Ethiopia and Kenya. Groves and Grubb (2011) supported by Gongora et al. (in prep.) reviewed this classification and suggested that a species-level status be assigned to these three subspecies. However, further genetic and morphometric studies are required in order to fully understand the taxonomy of the Forest Hog, particularly because the taxonomic status of the Ethiopian race is still indefinite.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-01-29
Assessor(s): d'Huart, J. & Reyna, R.
Reviewer(s): Meijaard, E.
Contributor(s): Hart, J.A.

Listed as Least Concern as the species is relatively widespread, sometimes locally abundant with a high reproductive potential, and, although it is subject to hunting in many parts of its range, it is not believed to be declining at a rate that would merit listing either as Near Threatened or in a threatened category. However,  it is acknowledged that there is a general decreasing trend for the species across its range. If national hunting regulations are not adequately adapted to the local populations status, this might eventually represent a threat in some countries where the species is targeted as hunting trophy. Today, the status of the species may be more alarming than actually classified because two of the subspecies present very fragmented populations. H. m. ivoriensis is cause of concern given the high rates of forest loss and fragmentation in the West Africa countries and live in isolated subpopulations from Guinea to Southern Ghana, but information to substantiate this is insufficient (d’Huart and Kingdon 2013). A specific investigation on its status and on the conservation measures needed is therefore urgently warranted. H. m. meinertzhageni has probably disappeared from Rwanda and Burundi, and in Uganda it may be confined to some protected areas in the Western part of the country. In Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan Forest hogs live also in very fragmented populations.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:At continental scale, the Forest Hog has a range similar in many respects to the Bongo Tragelaphus eurycerus, being distributed in scattered populations throughout undisturbed tracts of lowland rainforest in West Africa and on the right bank of the Congo River, and also present in highland mixed forests of the Albertine Rift, and in isolated montane forests in Kenya and Ethiopia (d'Huart and Kingdon 2013). Contrary to previous accounts, the presence of the species has not been confirmed in Tanzania (Grimshaw 1998, Kock and Howell 1999). It is believed to be extinct in Equatorial Guinea, and there have been no records of Forest Hog from Rwanda since the late 1980s (R. Dowsett pers. comm.), though they might still survive in the Nyungwe/Kibira Forest straddling Rwanda and Burundi (Meijaard et al. 2011).
Countries occurrence:
Cameroon; Central African Republic; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Ethiopia; Gabon; Ghana; Guinea; Kenya; Liberia; Nigeria; Sierra Leone; Sudan; Uganda
Possibly extinct:
Regionally extinct:
Equatorial Guinea (Equatorial Guinea (mainland))
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:1900000
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The Forest Hog occurs at low density over most of its range, but sometimes locally abundant and at high densities. In DRC, d'Huart (1978) recorded densities of 0.4/km² in Garamba National Park to 2.6 /km² in the central plain of Virunga National Park. On the Mweya Peninsula, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda, density was reported as more than 10 km² in 1999. However, Klingel and Klingel (2004) subsequently recorded a 30% fall in the density mainly as a result of high predation. This population had subsequently declined further and was close to extinction (H. Klingel pers. comm. 2007). In Kibale National Park, Uganda, Reyna-Hurtado and collaborators tracked two groups of Forest hog inhabiting forest clearing surrounded by mature and logged montane forest and estimated a density of 1.02 individuals/km² (Reyna-Hurtado et al. 2014).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Throughout its range, the Forest Hog inhabits a wide variety of forest types, ranging from subalpine areas and bamboo groves through montane to lowland and swamp forests, galleries, wooded savannas and post-cultivation thickets. It shows a preference for a convenient and permanent water source, thick understorey cover in some parts of the home range, and a diversity of vegetation types. The variety of forest habitats occupied implies a high degree of adaptability to local climatic conditions (d'Huart and Kingdon 2013). For example in Kibale National Park (Uganda) they select dense thickets of shrubs, mainly composed of Mimulopsis spp,. Acanthus pubescens, and Piper spp. surrounded by mature or logged forest but the species occasionally visits swampy areas and mature forest (Reyna-Hurtado et al. 2014).

Forest Hogs are mainly grass-eaters and folivorous, although observations in Ituri suggest that forest hogs are also rooters, and feed on buried meristems of sedges (J. Hart pers. comm.). Feeding habits show that they are neither exclusively forest animals nor pure grazers but that they display great versatility in food selection (Meijaard et al. 2011). For example in Kibale National Park, it was found that they feed on at least 32 species of plants with 94 % of these being herbaceous species. Preferred food species observed were Mimulopsis solmsii, Ipomea spp. and Piper umbrellatea. These plants are very abundant in the dense bushes of the clearings surrounded by forest (Reyna-Hurtado et al. 2014).

Adult size and sexual maturity are reached by both males and females at 18 months. Gestation period averages 151 days. Life tables suggest an average life expectancy of 3.5 years and an average life span of 5 years, with a maximum of 18 years (d’Huart 1978).


Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

In some areas of the Congo Basin, Forest Hogs are avoided by shotgun hunters because their flesh is considered to have an unpleasant taste, but this is by no means a widespread aversion (d'Huart and Kingdon 2013). Hogs are sometimes caught in snares and the meat is smoked to conceal its origin and sent to urban markets (d'Huart and Kingdon 2013). Despite its large size, the meat of Forest Hog is an uncommon sale in bushmeat markets (Davies and Brown 2007) but in some parts of its range where density is still high, the species is considered at risk from overexploitation in the illegal bushmeat trade and has been elevated from partially protected to integrally protected in 2011 (PALF 2016).

There is a substantial number of commercial hunting operations targeting this species, mainly in Central African Republic and Ethiopia, but the impact on populations is unknown.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Forest Hogs are very vulnerable to deforestation and, to a lesser extent, to hunting for food. Deforestation, hunting and other forms of disturbance wherever people have access to forest areas have led to the local decrease and/or extinction of populations, notably in Guinée (D. Brugière pers. comm.), Bwindi and Murchison National Park in Uganda (Tumukunde pers. comm) and Ethiopia (J. Roussos pers. comm.). Diseases and parasites transmission may also represent significant threats that remain largely unknown in its effects on populations.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Forest Hogs occur in a number of major protected areas, including: Haut Niger National Park (Guinée); Sapo National Park (Liberia); Taï National Park (Côte d’Ivoire); Bia National Park (Ghana); Minkebe National Park (Gabon); Odzala National Park (Congo Republic); the Sangha Tri-National complex (Central African Republic, Congo, Cameroon); Bili-Uere Hunting Reserve, Okapi Faunal Reserve, Garamba National Park, Maiko National Park, Virunga National Park and Kahuzi-Biega National Park (DRC); Ruwenzori National Park, Kibale National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park (Uganda); Aberdares National Park, Mt Kenya National Park and Masai Mara National Park (Kenya); and Bale Mountains National Park (Ethiopia). It is also present and locally abundant in hunting concessions in Cameroon, Central African Republic and Ethiopia.

Errata [top]

Errata reason: Corrected the title of a book used as a reference in this assessment.

Citation: d'Huart, J. & Reyna, R. 2016. Hylochoerus meinertzhageni (errata version published in 2016). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41769A100471546. . Downloaded on 22 September 2018.
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