The Visayan Warty Pig is under threat from the deadly African Swine Fever virus, a viral infection which has been spreading across the Philippines, since 2020, with deadly consequences. The virus has now reached the West Visayan islands of Negros and Panay where the warty pigs are found and has already caused devastation across the domestic pig population. Talarak Foundation manages a conservation breeding programme for Wisayan Warty Pig, as well as a small private reserve that has approximately 60 individuals of the species. Warty pigs in one of Talarak’s captive centres have already been affected by the disease; 16 animals were infected with the virus and all died within two weeks. Captive and wild warty pigs are very vulnerable to this disease and its presence in domestic and wild pig populations threatens to materially undermine the conservation of the species.
Talarak will implement emergency protocols to mitigate the risks of African Swine Fever to the Visayan Warty Pig captive populations that it manages. This will include the construction of new, isolated enclosures to reduce the risk of a single disease outbreak exterminating Talarak’s entire captive population. Part of this process will include designing and implementing best-practice biosecurity protocols. Additionally, Talarak will survey the wild pig populations on Negros and Panay islands using camera-traps and community interviews, so that the impacts of the disease can be monitored as best as possible.
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Photo credit: Chester Zoo