A current world first The Assam Tribune Online GUWAHATI, Nov 10 – The elusive pigmy hog will get a new home in the Assam State Zoo, making it in the process the only zoo of the world to display this rare animal. Those to be sheltered at the zoo will be brought from the Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme – a collaborative captive breeding project of IUCN/SSC Wild Pig Specialist Group, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Assam Forest Department, and the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. Currently, the pigmy hog – the smallest and rarest of the pig family – is endemic to the Barnadi Wildlife Sanctuary and Manas National Park of Assam. It also happens to be India’s rarest mammal. Announcing this at a press conference today, Assam Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain said that the purpose behind the move was to enhance public awareness about conservation. He said that preparations have almost been completed in the zoo for the purpose of hosting the new guests. “A simulated habitat is being created in the enclosures of the zoo for better management of the pigmy hog,” he said. Hussain also appreciated the Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme which has been implemented in Assam by the Rare and Endangered Species Conservation Unit (RESCU) of EcoSystems-India for their committed efforts towards conserving the critically-endangered species. Referring to his recent visit to upper Assam on October 27-28, Hussain said that he had interacted with the villagers of Laika located inside Dibru-Saikhowa National park about relocating the village from the national park in the greater interest of conservation. The Government is working out a compensation and rehabilitation package for the villagers, he added.