It is well known that biodiversity decreases daily, with species extinctions a matter of routine. Unfortunately, this long-established trend is only likely to intensify as climate change strikes harder and reaches further, affecting not merely plants and animals that make for an interesting read, but ones integral to our lives.
It is, therefore, very heartening when the list of losses is mitigated by a success story, a case in which the caring of humanity for the well-being of other creatures, to say nothing of its own long-term outlook, triumphs over other motivations and makes one think the tide could turn.
Well, you can celebrate today, because for once a species has pulled back from the brink to enjoy more time on Earth with us and all other creatures. And it may not be one of the grandest, but nonetheless thanks must be given for the endangered pygmy hog’s continued survival.
The pygmy hog hails from northern India, and is regarded to be the pivotal species of the Terai grasslands which predominate in that area, in spite of the presence of more famous and loved animals such as elephants, tigers and rhinos. Unlike them, the pygmy hog is far more limited in what sorts of areas can accommodate it. Only that specific part of India will suffice. Fortunately, the aid that is compelled to be directed towards the pig has the benefit of helping many others.
Animal lovers had been saddened to believe that the pygmy hog was extinct until 1971, when a tea plantation worker in the Indian state of Assam found them living. But it was not until the 1990s that the conservation movement succeeded in mounting a program to breed them in captivity.
Happily, that effort was an enormous success, and it’s all due to the tireless efforts of the Pygmy Hog Conservation Program. Established by Gerald Durrell of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, the PHCP has now been able to release 130 hogs bred in captivity into two of India’s national parks- Manas and Orang- and also two wildlife sanctuaries, Barnadi and Sonai Rupai, all in the pygmy hog’s natural range in Assam.
The pygmy hog will be able once again to supply the regulation of the area’s vegetation that allows a number of species to thrive, and so in that way this triumph is really several triumphs, showing just how enormous an impact can be made if one applies themselves even towards what may seem to be just a drop in the bucket. It all counts.
It is an environmental victory that renews the faith of even the most doubtful, when one thinks of the enormity of the leap completed now by the pygmy hog. After all, could a greater journey be made than covering the distance from not existing at all to thriving once again, as the pig will be able to do if its habitat can remain protected now that it’s certain it will be there to benefit from it?
And it could not have happened without the caring support of everyday people who gave what they could, as much as those words may be cheapened by overuse. A difference can really be made when one cares and is determined. And the results will show in the lives that can be consequently lived by our children and their children.