On September 1 this little Red River Hog was born in a padded corner nest filled with wood shavings at the Berlin Zoo. Mom Dagmba lay on her side to encourage the baby to nurse, and somehow the baby, who did not have to fight with any siblings or share milk, ended up choosing the most out-of-reach teat.
This lively little one, named Tonka by his keepers, has already begun to follow his mother outside into their habitat when the weather permits. When mom sits down or stops, Tonka hugs her side, where he feels safest. The rest of the gang, Boar pig Kivu, Tomu and sow Gundi, are curious, but the baby will not be introduced to them for a few more days; Keepers are letting mom and baby be for now, to ensure further bonding and to give Tonka the time to grown stronger and bigger before romping with the rest.
Hogs are native to West and Central Africa. With its reddish coat, dark face mask, white beard and conspicuous ear tufts, they are among the most colorful mammals. In zoos, the population trends of the Red River hogs are controlled by conservation breeding programs such as the one at Berlin Zoo.