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The chuckmahalec is a sub species of the pig family that once roamed the southeastern states of America predominantly in Florida.   The name was given to the pig species by the famous explorer Charles Mahalec in the 18th century.  Since then the Chuckmahalec pigs have been on the brink of extinction due to the poaching and increased cultivation to their natural habitat.  Scientists declared the chuckmahalecs as an endangered species in 1947.  Unfortunately, being put on the endangered species list did not stop the poachers. Today the last chuckmahalec named Big Chuck lives in the San Francisco Zoo; animal preservation enthusiasts moved him here in 2014. 

The habitats that the chuckmahalec lived in were swampy, marsh environments.  Poachers hunted the chuckmahalec pigs for their great meat and because they were easy prey being that they couldn’t run fast, especially in the swampy conditions.  However, the swampy habitat did help the chuckmahalec pigs survive in some ways, as poachers couldn’t get to them deep in the everglades because of the rough terrain.  This didn’t mean they were entirely safe, chuckmahalec pigs still had natural predators that would hunt them as well.  Some natural predators were the Florida panther, wolves, and the American alligator.  The chuckmahalec pigs were omnivores, which have long claws that are used to hunt their usual diet: rats, chipmunks, and squirrels.  They would also eat many different types of vegetation throughout the swamplands.

What differentiates the chuckmahalec pigs from today’s pigs is that they are a foot longer than the average 3.6-foot wild boar.  A chuckmahalec facial structure is much like a wild boars having large round snout, but unlike the American wild boar.  They have dark marks under their eyes as if they are similar to raccoons.    The chuckmahalec pigs were also hairless with a light brown skin.  This helps them in their swimming abilities.  They were marvelous swimmers who would prey on fish if they went long enough without a meal.  The chuckmahalec pigs can go days without eating.  Having a very slow metabolism scientists recorded chuckmahalec pigs lasting a month without eating. 

Chuckmahalec pigs would live in large communities made up of many families.  The community structure is very similar to the communities of todays mountain gorillas found in Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa.  These large communities would be full of many families and consisting of one alpha or leader of the group.  The alpha was in charge of watching over the community and keeping everyone safe.  This intelligent species would work together watching out for one another to ensure the communities safety.  The tight knit communities had roles for everyone in the community.  The males and females would both actively watch over the young so the others could hunt and find food.  Chuckmahalecs were also known to communicate with one another.  Communication varied with squeals, grunts, and shrieks if they were in danger.  The chuckmahalecs were an intelligent, adaptive, and family oriented species that was hunted to the brink of extinction.  It is a tragedy that this species will soon be gone from earth forever.  Taken from us too soon but never to be forgotten.    

Kameron Schlegel