The Bornean bearded pig (Sus barbatus ), also known ambiguously as the Sunda bearded pig or simply bearded pig, is a species in the pig genus, Sus.
It can be recognized by its prominent beard. It also sometimes has tassels on its tail. It is found in Southeast Asia—Sumatra, Borneo, the Malay Peninsula, and various smaller islands like in Sulu archipelago such as Tawi-Tawi, where it inhabits rainforests and mangrove forests. The bearded pig lives in a family. It can reproduce from the age of 18 months, and can be cross-bred with other species in the family Suidae.
Bornean bearded pigs can be recognized by their prominent beard which is more pronounced in males. They also sometimes have tassels on their tail. Bornean bearded pigs are usually pale gray in color, but may vary in appearance depending on location from reddish-brown, dark brown, or very pale. Males have two pairs of small facial warts which are hidden within the beard. Both sexes are similar in appearance and have sharp tusks.
Bornean bearded pigs are found in Southeast Asia. They occur in Sumatra, Borneo, the Malay Peninsula, and various smaller islands like in Sulu archipelago such as Tawi-Tawi. They live in rainforests and mangrove forests.
Bornean bearded pigs are very social and live in groups that consist of mothers and their young. These groups often join up and form big herds of up to several hundred individuals. Adult males are usually solitary and come to groups only during the breeding season. Bornean bearded pigs are active during the day and spend their time foraging, resting, wallowing in mud and sleeping. They often follow macaques to feed on fruits that fall to the ground. These pigs also swim well and travel with ease between oceanic islands. They are also good climbers and jumpers. Bornean bearded pigs are unique among other pigs to their migrations. Several hundred animals join together for annual migration. These migrating herds are led by old males and they always travel by the same route and at the same time of year. Bornean bearded pigs travel at night and during the day shelter in thickets. These large movements are suggested to be in response to fruit availability in the forest.
Little is known about the mating system in Bornean bearded pigs. They breed year-round. Before to give birth, a female will leave the herd and build a large nest of foliage in which newborn piglets will stay for about a week. The gestation period lasts around 90-120 days and the litter size varies with female size. Small mothers usually give birth to 3-4 piglets in a litter, while large ones have 10-12. Females become very aggressive in protecting their offspring and will chase away any intruders, including other bearded pigs. The mother nurses her young within three months, and they stay with her for around a year. Bornean bearded pigs become reproductively mature at 18 months of age; however, males usually do not start breeding until they become physically mature at 4 years of age.
Main threats to Bornean bearded pigs include the conversion of forests for agriculture, particularly oil palm and rubber, fragmentation of remaining habitat, and unsustainable logging. Other serious threats to these animals are hunting for meat and competition with Eurasian wild pigs (Peninsular Malaysia).
The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Bornean bearded pig total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing.