Target: President Benigno Aquino III of the Philippines
Goal: Save the critically endangered Visayan warty pig by educating people about its importance
In only three generations, the Visayan warty pig population has decreased by 80 percent due to habitat loss. Massive human population increases on the islands of the Philippines have forced the boar to become extinct over 98 percent of its previous habitat. In addition to rampant habitat loss, the pigs are illegally hunted for food or captured by angry farmers whose food the boar must often eat to survive. The warty pig is considered a pest by locals and is treated as such despite its status as a critically endangered species under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list.
The boar is a small, forest-dwelling pig given its name for the wart-like growths typically found across its face. The animal used to live on many of the islands of the Philippines, but its rapid decline has ensured that it can now only be found on two of the islands. Pitfall traps and wire snares are used to capture the pigs, and they often fall prey to traps buried in the ground, which explode when the rooting animal unearths them.
Conservation efforts do exist and activists are working hard to save the boar from extinction, but greater public awareness could mean the survival of this often-overlooked species. The Visayan Warty Pig Conservation Programme began in 1991 and has put forth tireless effort to provide protections for this deserving animal, and multiple rescue centers and captive breeding programs have been set up. Unfortunately, as it stands, the extinction of the Visayan warty pig is still only a matter of time.
In addition to the international laws protecting this pig based on its critically endangered species status and the many efforts of conservationists, more help is needed: local support must exist for this effort. If those who live amongst the pigs consider them little more than edible vermin, their lives will always be in danger in their increasingly forfeited habitat.
Urge the government of the Philippines to set up campaigns to educate the Visayan warty pig’s neighbors on the costs of this animal’s extinction, both locally and globally.
Dear President Aquino,
The Visayan warty pig is critically endangered and despite the many efforts of conservationists, activists, and government officials, its plight is becoming no less dire. Habitat loss, unfair stereotypes, and its use as food continue to speed the boar’s unintentional race to the brink of extinction. As the human population of the islands increases, the warty pig population is demolished.
Despite many outside efforts, the only chance to save the pig in its natural habitat is to convince the people who live around it not to kill it. If locals continue to consider the pig a mere pest, its future is almost certainly set. If, however, the pig’s neighbors can be educated about its importance to the local ecology, its future may not be so bleak.
I urge you to protect the Visayan warty pig by educating those who live around it on the many benefits of its continued existence, as well as the burden its extinction could have on the local ecology.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jay Dodge via Flickr