By day, they rest in the surviving scraps of rainforest on their remote tropical-island home. By night, they grub around for tubers and roots in the forest gardens of local communities, dodging guard dogs and the occasional angry farmer with a gun.
Now, the diminutive warty pigs of Bawean, a small island in Indonesia’s Java Sea, have a new claim to fame: they may be the rarest pigs in the world.
The warty pigs of Southeast Asia come in many shapes and sizes – and, it seems, many species too. Often dismissed as little more than pests, they are receiving a taxonomic makeover, with a dozen distinct species now acknowledged, and others likely to emerge.
The latest is the Bawean warty pig (Sus blouchi), a dwarf relative of the Javan warty pig (Sus verrucosus), but now claimed to be a species in its own right.