The Wuzhishan breed is very quickly being forced out of existence. They are a local bred raised only in the province of Hainan, China. This area is a geographically isolated tropical mountainous region. Very few people in this region raise this breed for production purposes because of the fast introduction of exotic species. Special attention is needed in order to preserve this rare species. There are fewer than 30 Wuzhishan pigs remaining, with only 3 boars, and all are in ex situ conservation.
The local crops are rice, peanuts, sweet-potatoes, sugar cane, and cassava in this tropical-subtropical area. Average annual temperature is 24.5° C, with highs and lows of 35.7° C and 2.2° C, respectively. Rainfall averages from 1,600 mm to 2,000 mm per year.
This local breed is not used as a market supply animal, but only by local farmers for self-consumption. Slaughter time for boars is after first mating with litter mates and mother-sows as well. This breed has been inbred for a long time.
The general coloring of Wuzhishan pigs is black, with a white abdomen and inner leg area. These pigs have long legs, long and tipped snout, level back and loin, small head, and narrow chest. Sows grow to be about 50 to 70 cm long, 35 to 45 cm high, 65 to 80 cm around the chest, and 30 to 35 kg in weight. Sows are able to give birth 1 or 2 times a year, with first pregnancy occurring at the age of 3 to 4 months. Boars first become sexually active at 1 to 1.5 months.
Wuzhishan pigs have an extremely small size and a strong recovering ability after surgical embryo transfer operations. This makes for a very interesting laboratory animal and is internationally investigated as an interesting germplasm.
Information compiled by Marcus Johnson, Freshman Honors Student, working with Paul O. Brackelsberg, Professor of Animal Science, Iowa State University, Ames, from FAO Resource Book Number 16, 1995.
Article contributed by You-Chun Chen.