Pigs & Warthogs

This little piggy is one of 17 born at Ostrava Zoo

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Two Mangalitza sows at the Czech Republic’s Ostrava Zoo gave birth to their first litters of piglets in late June.  Because the Ostrava Zoo only maintains female Mangalitza Pigs, the sows had been sent to the Vyskov Zoo in January, where they spent three months with a boar.  The result:  17 piglets!  One sow delivered ten piglets; the other seven.  These were the first litters for each sow.

Mangalitza Pigs, which originated in Hungary, are also known as curly-haired hogs due to their long, fleecy coat.  Once widely bred for their lard, Mangalitza pigs are now regarded as a rare breed. 

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Photo Credits:  Ostrava Zoo


Say Hello to Kansas City Zoo's Red River Hog Piglet Quartet

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Little black, cream and red watermelons with wiry pink tails, Spock ears and button snouts -- that just about describes these four new Red River Hog piglets. Born at the Kansas City Zoo on April 23, they made their public debut on May 10, at just 17 days old.

Weighing around 2 pounds (.90 kilos) at birth, they will nurse from mom for at least three months. Pig milk has nearly double the fat of cow or human milk so they will grow quickly; Mom Binti and Dad Runty weigh a healthy 150 pounds (68 kilos) each.

Binti has proven to be an ideal mom, at first by making her own nest from grasses and vegetation and now by nursing and tending to the every need of her babies. Not to exclude Dad from caregiving kudos, Runty is already quick to come to the defense of the piglets and keep them within eyesight of Binti. Rounding them up and keeping a close eye on these four isn’t easy.

How do the zoo keepers tell them apart? One twitches its ear most of the time, one squeaks all the time, one eats all the time, and one is trying to cause trouble all the time! On their first exam by the zoo's vet, they were micro-chipped to ensure each its individual identity.

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Photo Credit: Kansas City Zoo


It's a Red River Hog Piglet Duo for Calgary Zoo

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The Calgary Zoo has two new residents! On the morning of March 12 first time mom Ine (Swahili for “four”) gave birth to two Red River Hog piglets. The wee ones were observed nursing well and the building has re-opened. This will be the fourth litter of red river hogs for the Calgary Zoo.

Red river hogs are native to West and Central sub Saharan Africa to Northern South Africa and Madagascar. Their gestation period is 120-127 days. Red River Hogs are part of a Species Survival Plan (SSP), a network of breeding recommendations between accredited zoos to provide for the best possible genetic diversity of the species.

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Photo Credit: Clagary Zoo

 


Pot-bellied Piglet Gets a Leg Up with Keepers' Help

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A female Vietnamese Pot-bellied Piglet was born on February 2nd, 2012 at Wroclaw Zoo in Poland. Her two siblings, sadly, did not survive the birth and she was rejected by her mother. Keepers quickly stepped in to begin the hand-rearing process. The next day, the Piglet's aunt gave birth and hopeful keepers attempted to introduce the "orphaned" Piglet as one of her own with no success. In the next 3-4 weeks, keepers plan to put both young Pigs together.

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Photo credit: Wroclaw Zoo


Ten Little Piglets! Ten!

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Ireland's Dublin Zoo and the Agri Aware are celebrating the first arrivals of 2012. Last week, Rosie, a Tamworth pig, welcomed ten piglets. This is her second litter, with five males and five females. During the first week, the piglets remained close to their mom, but over the past few days, they have started to explore their new surroundings. 

Eddie O’Brien, team leader at Family Farm, a joint partnership between Dublin Zoo and Agri Aware said, “The piglets are full of beans and can be seen running around chasing after each other in their pen. We are keeping a close eye on two little runts in the litter, just to make sure they are getting an equal share of the food. However, we are very happy so far, as each piglet is healthy and making good progress. We’re very excited to have these new arrivals.”

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Photo Credits: Dublin Zoo

 


Beardsley Zoo Welcomes a Chacoan Peccary Piglet

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This little Chacoan peccary piglet was born on October 20 to parents Acorn and Bernard at Connecticut's Beardsley ZooThe female piglet, who is as of yet unnamed, was two pounds (.907 kg) at birth and has already grown to 10 (4.5 kg) pounds!  She was up and following her mother around within 15 minutes of her birth, which is not uncommon for these animals. 

Chacoan peccaries are between one and a half to two and a half feet at the shoulders and grow to weigh between 66-88 pounds (about 30 kg). They are most active during the early part of the day and then find a shaded area to cool under as the day progresses. Their hair is coarse gray to gray-brown, interspersed with long guard hairs. The have a whitish collar across the shoulders and under the chin. The head is extremely large and the nose tapers to a snout.

Chacoans feed on various species of cacti, fruit, roots herbs, using their tough leathery snouts to roll the cacti on the ground, rubbing the spines off. They also pull the spines off with their teeth and spit them out. The kidneys of the Chacoan are specialized to break down acids from the cacti.

The baby will remain off exhibit until Spring 2012, both because of the harsh winter temperatures and to allow for bonding with the mother. She

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Photo Credit: Beardsley Zoo

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Eight Tiny Hooves: Visayan Warty Pigs Born at Belfast Zoo

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Keepers at Belfast Zoo UK are delighted to hear the pitter patter of tiny trotters after the recent birth of Maleah and Malu, two very special Visayan Warty Pigs. Proud parents Malcolm and Mabel arrived at their newly renovated Belfast Zoo enclosure in March/April 2010 from Chester Zoo and Rotterdam Zoo. The pair soon became inseparable and three weeks ago welcomed their new arrivals. 

Zoo manager, Mark Challis is delighted with this achievement, saying, “The whole Zoo team is delighted and extremely proud that within just one year we have been able to renovate an enclosure, introduce two new critically endangered animals and successfully breed two piglets!"

"Visayan Warty Pigs are the most critically endangered of all wild pigs," he continued. "And while historically they were native to six islands within the Philippines they have already become extinct on four of them due to deforestation. And they are hunted for meat and by farmers to protect their harvest. With such a high risk of extinction in the wild, it makes the birth of Maleah and Malu very special and a real achievement for Belfast Zoo.” 

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Photo Credit: Belfast Zoo

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Who Knew - Piglets Smile When They Nap!

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Here's a set of baby pictures that just may produce squeals of delight! These nine Tamworth piglets were born in the first week of May, 2011, at the Dublin Zoo's Family Farm to mom Ginger. Five are males and four are female.

Eddie O’Brien, team leader of the Family Farm said, “The piglets are thriving and full of beans. During the first couple of weeks we kept a close eye on the one little runt of the pack, as he was smaller and weaker than the others. There was no need to worry as we soon realized he is equally as fit and able as the rest of his siblings...  He never misses a meal!”

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Photo Credits: Dublin Zoo

Among the oldest of pig breeds, the Tamworth is a domestic pig originating in the UK. They are thought to have descended from wild boars, via native pig stock of Europe. Principal populations today are in the United Kingdom, Australia, USA, New Zealand and Canada. Also called Sandy Backs and Tams, they are listed as "Threatened" in the US and as "Vulnerable" in the UK by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. There are fewer than 300 registered breeding females.


Surprise Hoglets Pop into Spain

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Two Red River Hogs were born unexpectedly in early May at Bioparc Valencia in Spain. These colorful wild boars live in the African equatorial forest, typically near water. In recent years the population of this species has grown dramatically in accredited zoos, but the genetic pool is shrinking. International controls to prevent the spread of swine flu have made the transport of these hogs between foreign zoos for responsible breeding purposes more challenging. After a lot of red tape, the father of these tiny hoglets was finally sent to a German zoo where he could contribute genetic diversity, but not before clandestinely fathering these two little piggies.

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