Pigs & Warthogs

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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Don't miss this video!

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Red River Hoglets at Howletts!

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On May 3, 2011, Howletts Wild Animal Park in Canterbury, England welcomed the birth of two baby Red River Hogs.The Red River Hog, or bush pig, is widely distributed throughout sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar, across forests, mountains and grasslands. These pigs are social animals, often living in small groups called "drifts" or herds.

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Most active at night, Red River Hogs have made enemies with some farmers by raiding crops. They are hunted for this reason, as well as for meat. While they are not at high risk, there are very few in zoos, so these babies offer a rare opportunity to appreciate this strong, intelligent and adapatable animal. With its reddish coat and patterned face, it is probably the most attractive-looking of wild pigs.

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Photo credits: Shelly Ansell


Four Little Hoglets!

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The first-ever Red River Hoglets born at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo are healthy, growing, and spending their days learning how to root and wallow, as every good hog should know how to do. The pair, a boy and a girl, was born the morning of March 23, and can now be seen on exhibit in African Rift Valley on sunny days when the temperature reaches at least 50 to 60 degrees. The hoglets weigh in at a little over two pounds and are already devouring fresh vegetables, along with their mother’s milk.

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Photo credits: Tracey Gazibara, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo


Video credits: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

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Four Formosan Hoglets in Taipei

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On February 10 Taiwan's Taipei Zoo welcomed four little Formosan Wild Boar hoglets. This subspecies of boar is native only to Taiwan. The little boars were born as part of a Taipei Zoo conseration program to protect the species, which has become increasingly rare as farmers allow their domestic pigs to roam free and interbreed with Formosan Boars. Zookeeper Chen Yan He, the Zoo's unofficial "pig nanny," has worked with a variety of pigs and boars in the past but says that the Formosan Boars are among the most gentle.

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Formosan Wild Boar hoglets at Taipei Zoo 2bPhoto credits: Taipei Zoo


Little Peccary Piglets in Los Angeles

On August 23, the Los Angeles Zoo welcomed two Chacoan Peccary piglets. This relative of the pig is native to Bolivia, Argentina and Paraguay. They were thought to be extinct until 1972 when biologists found the species hidden away in a secluded section of Paraguay. 

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Photo credits: Tad Motoyama / Los Angeles Zoo

In the wild, low growing species of cactus make up most of the peccary’s diet.  Like hogs, peccaries have a well-developed snout used to root out bulbs, roots, tubers and rhizomes of a variety of plants. Unlike the domestic pig, the peccary is a slow and dainty eater; they do not devour their food rapidly.


Forget Jon and Kate: Hamton the Pig Plus Fourteen Piglets!

Hamton the pig had a busy spring at Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo, cozying up with not one but two charming Guinea Hog sows, Jodie and Olivia. This past week, both sows gave birth to big litters, eight and six respectively, making Hamton the proud father of fourteen little piglets! Guinea Hogs are a domestic breed that was once the most prevalent in the American Southeast, but today their are only about 200 individuals left.

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Connecticuts beardsley zoo baby guinea hog pigs 2Photo credits: Shannon Calvert

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