The pygmy hogs which are native to India, are placed on lockdown due to the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak in the said country, according to an Associated Press report.
An official at Assam State’s Animal husbandry department mentioned the availability of vaccine is zilch.
The highly communicable viral disease that affects hogs has no vaccine or cure, said Pradip Gogoi of Assam State Husbandry.
Also, the virus has infected and claimed more than 16,000 domestic pigs.
Brought Back From Extinction And Then Back Again?
The population of naturally shy pygmy hogs deteriorated due to habitat destruction.
Many even presumed that the 10-inch species of wild hogs were extinct in the mid-1900s.
Fortunately, conservation efforts, for instance, breeding in captivity has brought the species’ number back.
This intricate nest builder has a current population of more or less 300 in Assan, a state in Northeast India.
A handful of scientists, however, fears that the ASF will annihilate the already sparse population.
On May 18th, officials verified that the swine fever reached India.
This prompted scientists to lock down conservation centers and take stringent measures, said Parag Deka.
Mr. Deka heads the Pygmy Hog Conservation Program.
The program is co-managed by Indian officials, Durrell Wildlife Conservation (U.K. based), and Aanrayak (local non-profit).
African Swine Fever Need-To-Know
“It is very scary,” Deka said.
ASF can get rid of “the whole population.”
African swine virus transfers from one pig to another via direct contact, contaminated meat or material – and a vaccine, realistically speaking is two or years away, said Linda Dixon of The Pirbright Institute in the U.K.
ASF kills almost all contaminated hogs, Dixon said.
It can ravage the “wild pig or domestic pig” population which is terrible.
On A New Diet
The threat of infection resulted in a change of diet for the pigs.
Fruit and grains are still included on the menu.
The virus remains longer in soil hence root crops, for instance, tapioca and sweet potatoes were removed from the pigs’ diet.