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Red river hog

Potamochoerus porcus

Red river hog

Red river hogs, also known as bush pigs, are curious-looking creatures but they are becoming increasingly endangered. They are arguably one of the most attractive of the wild pig species, with a bright red coat, white dorsal stripe running along the back and they also have long characteristic ear tufts. Young red river hogs are born with a brown and black coat, to help them camouflage.

They are very good land cultivators, breaking up soil and allowing it to breathe as they root about for food.

However, they can devastate crop fields with their hunting methods and are disliked by farmers.

Forest and rainforests

Diet - Omnivore
Red river hogs are omnivores, eating roots, bulbs and fallen fruit and carrion

Body length can be up to 150 centimetres (cm) and height can be as much as 80cm. Red river hogs can weigh up to 120 kilograms.

Red river hogs are found in dense tropical forests in sub-Saharan Africa, including the Congo and Senegal.

Conservation status
Red river hogs were considered endangered but their numbers have now risen. They do not currently have a status from IUCN. Trade in pigs is no longer controlled by CITES.

Because of their destructive nature, these hogs are seen as pests by farmers and are hunted as a result.

Current population
There are no estimates of how many red river hogs there are in the wild. They are becoming more common in wild areas as natural predators, such as leopards, disappear. Their numbers are reduced in rural areas due to hunting by farmers.

Zoo population
Red river hogs are part of a European Studbook. There are around 460 red river hogs living in zoos around the world.

Key to acronyms

IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature

CITES - Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

ESB - European Studbook

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