IUCN/SSC Wild Pig Specialist Group

The original ‘Pigs and Peccaries Specialist Group’ was established in 1980 at the invitation of (the late) Sir Peter Scott, then Chair of the SSC, and under leadership of William Oliver. It held its inaugural meeting in New Delhi in 1981. This event also coincided with the publication of two classic reviews of the taxonomy of the suids by Colin Groves, who took on the task of unraveling the inordinate number of S.E. Asian wild pigs described mostly by late Victorian taxonomists. Colin’s reviews of Babyrousa (1980) and,  especially, Sus (1981) provided the essential bases for our understanding of the diversity and regional genetic variation in these genera. In 1988, Peter Grubb started work on a major review of the taxonomy of the African suids; a challenge he generously accepted upon the urging of the PPSG. This study ultimately resulted in the formal recognition of 5 (rather than 3) living species, and at least 12 subspecies, of endemic African suids.

In 1988/89, approximately 600 questionnaires (one questionnaire for each species of wild pig and hippo known or believed likely to occur in each country) were sent to a total of 115 wildlife officials and biologists in 42 countries. Analyses of these data, together with information gleaned from a variety of other sources provided the basis for the 'action plan' chapters for each  of the taxa in the PPSG and HSG Action Plan which was completed in 1992 and published by the SSC in 1993.

Since then several conservation programs have been developed for the most critically endangered pig taxa, especially focusing on the Pygmy Hog and Visayan Warty Pig, and the groups newsletter, Suiform Soundings was established. In 2009, the decision was made to split the original PPHSG into three independent specialist groups: the present WPSG, the Hippo Specialist Group, and the Peccary Specialist Group.

For more details on the history of this specialist group, see William Oliver's article in Suiform Soundings 9(1).