Phacochoerus aethiopicus 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Suidae

Scientific Name: Phacochoerus aethiopicus
Species Authority: (Pallas, 1766)
Common Name(s):
English Desert Warthog, Somali Warthog, Cape Warthog
French Phacochère du Dèsert
Taxonomic Notes: There are two described subspecies, one (the nominate form) extinct since about 1871. P. a. delamerei survives in the northern part of the range in the Horn of Africa.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2011-06-11
Assessor(s): d'Huart, J.P., Butynski, T.M. & De Jong, Y.
Reviewer(s): Leus, K. & Hoffmann, M.
Listed as Least Concern as the species is relatively widespread, abundant, and there are no major threats believed to be resulting in a significant population decline. In addition, it is suspected that this species may be more widespread than presently known.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Least Concern (LC)
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Presently known only from south-eastern Ethiopia, western Somalia, and in central and eastern Kenya (d'Huart and Grubb 2001). More recently, the range has been found to extend southwards to Tsavo West National Park, west of Athi River and south of the Galana River (Culverwell et al. 2008, de Jong et al. 2009), and northwards, towards Melka Mari National Park (Obanda et al. in press). Formerly occurred in South Africa, in the south-eastern parts of the former Cape Province and apparently adjacent parts of KwaZulu-Natal, but long since extinct there (d'Huart and Grubb 2001, Grubb and d'Huart 2010). Most records are from near sea level to ca 1,400 m asl (Central Kenya).
Countries occurrence:
Ethiopia; Kenya; Somalia
Regionally extinct:
South Africa
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The Desert Warthog is generally reported as being locally abundant (Grubb and d'Huart 2010), mostly near small and remote villages or lodges where there is water (T. Butynski, Y. de Jong, J. Culverwell, and J. King pers. comm.). In Ethiopia, they are common in the whole Ogaden region and can be observed both in family sounders in bushy areas and in larger aggregations of up to 30 individuals around permanent wells and close to towns (Wilhelmi et al. 2004). Nevertheless, there are large areas within the geographic range from which the species is absent.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The Desert Warthog inhabits open arid regions, in vegetation types ranging from xerophylous bush and open woodland to subdesert steppe. They prefer plains on predominantly sandy soils, and avoid hilly terrain. Desert Warthogs are dependent on occurrence of water and shade (Grubb and d'Huart 2010; T. Butynski, Y. de Jong and J. Culverwell pers. comm.).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is hunted most for food.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats to the species. However, they may be subject to localized incidences of hunting for bushmeat trade (e.g. Wilhelmi et al. 2004). Habitat degradation due to over-grazing by domestic livestock and competition for water with humans and domestic livestock may be affecting populations of Desert Warthog in some regions, but this needs investigation (T. Butynski and Y. de Jong pers. comm.)

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The Desert Warthog occurs in a number of protected areas, including Tsavo West and Tsavo East National Parks (Kenya), Samburu, Buffalo Springs, Shaba, and Dodori National Reserves (Kenya), and likely in the Babile and Yabelo Wildlife Sanctuaries and associated Controlled Hunting Areas in Ethiopia and Meru and Kora National Parks in Kenya (d'Huart and Grubb 2001; Grubb and d'Huart 2010; T. Butynski and Y. de Jong pers. comm.).

This is a largely unstudied species for which further field surveys are needed to better determine geographic limits, area of occupancy, abundance and the impacts of various human/livestock-raising activities on distribution and abundance. Information on habitat preference and habitat limits are also needed, as is a good study of the basic ecology and behaviour of this species.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
8. Desert -> 8.1. Desert - Hot
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓   National : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Culverwell, J., Feely, J., Bell-Cross, S., de Jong, Y.A. and Butynski, T.M. 2008. A new pig for Tsavo. Swara 31(3): 50-52.

de Jong, Y.A., Culverwell, J. and Butynski, T.M. 2009. Desert warthog Phacochoerus aethiopicus found in Tsavo West National Park, southern Kenya. Suiform Soundings 8(2): 4-6.

d'Huart, J. P. and Grubb, P. 2001. Distribution of the common warthog (Phacochoerus africanus) and the desert warthog (Phacochoerus aethiopicus) in the Horn of Africa. African Journal of Ecology 39(2): 156-169.

Grubb, P. and d’Huart, J.P. 2010. Rediscovery of the Cape Warthog Phacochoerus aethiopicus: a Review. Journal of East African Natural History 99(2): 77-102.

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.2). Available at: (Accessed: 10 November 2011).

Obanda, V., Lekolool, I., Munyao, M., Chege, S., Manyibe, T. and Gakuya, F. In press. New distribution records for the desert Warthog (Phacochoerus aethiopicus delamerei – Pallas1766). African Journal of Ecology.

Wilhelmi, F., Kaariye, X. Y. and Heckel, J. O. 2004. The Desert warthog in the Ogaden, Ethiopia. Suiform Soundings 4(2): 52-54.

Citation: d'Huart, J.P., Butynski, T.M. & De Jong, Y. 2011. Phacochoerus aethiopicus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T41767A10534264. . Downloaded on 27 June 2016.
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