A survey of the rare Bawean warty pig (Sus blouchi) on Indonesia's Bawean Island suggests that the animal deserves to be designated as endangered.

In a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE, Mark Rademaker, from VHL University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, and colleagues reported that fewer than 250 of the rare pigs remain.

The pigs cannot be found elsewhere on Earth and until now, researchers only rely on museum specimens and information from local islanders to understand the behavior of the animal and gauge its conservation status.

The pigs are characterized by distinctive markings. The females look very similar to wild boar while the males have three pairs of big warts on each side of the face.

The researchers were able to get a better idea of the animal's status by setting up camera traps at 100 locations on the island. Based on the videos, the researchers estimated that the island is home to between 172 and 377 Bawean warty pigs making the animals the rarest pig species in the world.

The footage also revealed when the pigs are most active and where they prefer to live. The animals were found to be most active after dark looking for food on forest land. The forests where the pigs forage hold roots and tubers, which provide high-energy nourishment for the pigs.

With such a small population, the researchers said that the Bawean warty pig needs to be listed in the IUCN Red List as endangered albeit the pig's low population is not unexpected.

Because the pigs live on a small island with very little forest cover, the animals often forage in agricultural fields and community forests. Researchers said this raises concern as this may increase the likelihood of the animals getting into conflict with farmers around the area, which could result in trappings and killings.

"On behalf of the IUCN/SSC Wild Pig Specialist Group we conducted this assessment and concluded that the species should be listed as Endangered, primarily because of a population size estimated to number fewer than 250 mature individuals," the researchers wrote. "This information may further assist in effective future conservation planning for S. blouchi."

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