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The Bearded Pig (Sus barbatus)

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  • Sus Barbatus


Status categories 2-3 - the nominate subspecies from Borneo, S. b. barbatus, is still widespread but declining in numbers; the western subspecies from Peninsular Malaysia and Sumatra, S. b. oi, and the eastern subspecies from Palawan and neighboring islands, S. b. ahoenobarbus, are both rare. In Borneo, the dipterocarp forests should be deliberately managed for a variety of non-wood as well as wood outputs, which will benefit bearded pigs if wild meat is one of the outputs required. This action requires a fundamental rethinking of forestry management strategy. Conservation areas need to be maintained, and the communal forest system expanded, thereby retaining intact forest areas for the benefit of rural communities and with them, local bearded pig populations. Detailed, long-term investigation of the behaviour of identified pigs is necessary to resolve outstanding questions of social structure and home range use. In Peninsular or West Malaysia, (northern) Sumatra, Bangka and the Riau Islands, field surveys are needed to correct a lack of information on the distribution and status of S. b. oi and the habitats where they can be expected to survive, which is hampering measures to conserve bearded pigs in these regions. Unlike either of the other two subspecies, these animals are everywhere sympatric with S. scrofa, which may be competitively advantaged by human induced changes in its environment and whose relative abundance may have a negative influence on local attitudes to the management requirements of the rarer form. There is similar lack of recent information on the distribution and status of the Philippine endemic, S. b. ahoenobarbus, which has by far the most restricted range of the three, currently recognized subspecies. The present status of these animals on Balabac is unknown, but they remain quite widely, if patchily, distributed on the Calamian Islands (Busuanga, Culion and Coron) despite intense hunting pressure. Bearded pigs are also reported to be intensively hunted on Palawan, though precise data is lacking on their range there and any future fieldwork on this island is likely to be seriously compromised by the presence of armed rebels. All of these and other related problems are addressed in the proposed action plan for this species, which also recognizes the need to resolve the now rather confused systematic relationships between the three (Sundaic) forms of bearded pigs the closely allied wild pigs of the neighboring Wallacian subregion, i.e. the eastern Philippines' 'philippensis' and 'cebifrons', and the Sulawesi warty pig, S. celebensis.

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