Hidden cameras show a rare newborn Babirusa piglet snuggling with and nursing from its mother at the Chester Zoo in the video below. Babirusas are one of the rarest pig species in the world.
The tiny male piglet, named Bukaan, was born to Kendari, age four, following a five-month-long pregnancy. They have spent several months bonding behind the scenes and have only recently been released into their habitat.
Babirusas live on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi where their numbers have plummeted to an estimated 5,000 individuals. The species was once common, but hunting for their meat and destruction of their habitat led to their disappearance from some areas of Sulawesi.
Tim Rowlands, curator of mammals at the zoo, said, “When Kendari’s new piglet grows up he will sport a face full of twisted tusks, a large wet snout, warts and will be almost completely hairless, just like his dad, Sausu. But looks aren’t everything! This species is incredibly special and he’s ever such as important new arrival. Babirusas are under huge pressure in Sulawesi. They’re vulnerable to extinction and Kendari’s latest piglet is a significant addition to the world’s population.”
Zoos serve an increasingly important role as species are put at risk in the wild. Only a handful of zoos worldwide have successfully bred Babirusas, and the offspring will play a key role in the long term conservation of the species. Chester Zoo also supports efforts in Indonesia to preserve these rare animals.