Bearded pigs adapting to oil palm production

March 08, 2018

Bearded pigs in Borneo are successfully adapting to palm oil expansion but still require significant protected forest areas, finds new research published in Wildlife Research.

The study found that the pigs, renowned for their long facial hair, were consistently found in both degraded forest areas and adjacent palm oil plantations, and were in good physical condition despite the degradation of adjacent forests. The research was co-authored by David Kurz, a PhD candidate in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management (ESPM), and alumna Alison Ke, PhD ’17 ESPM.

In parts of Sumatra and Borneo, the species has been declining quickly in many areas as oil palm agriculture has expanded. The research finds that despite the destruction of their habitat, bearded pigs are finding a way to persist in amongst oil palm expansion, but only with the help of sufficient forests in these fragmented areas.

"The fact that we have well-fed bearded pigs throughout a fragmented forest-oil palm landscape shows that there may be several options for long-term bearded pig management, which is good news for both hunters and conservationists," said Kurz. “However, protected and connected forest habitats remain a critical need for bearded pigs, which have historically migrated hundreds of kilometres and are finding themselves boxed into an increasingly small world.”

Read the full story at its source, Cardiff University.