A trio of Red River Hogs was recently born at Chester Zoo. The tiny triplets arrived to mum Mali on May 4, following a four-month-long pregnancy.
The piglets stayed safely tucked in their den, bonding with mum, for the first few weeks of life, but they can now be seen on-exhibit, frolicking in the sun. According to keepers, the piglets are yet-to-be-sexed and yet-to-be-named.
Red River Hogs are instantly recognizable for their bright red fur, which helps them blend into their Sub-Saharan African habitat. This coloring has made the pigs renowned as being the world’s most colorful member of the pig family.
They are native to the swamps and forests of West and Central Africa, but hunting for their meat has led to a decline in numbers where they were once commonly found.
Sarah Roffe, team manager at the Zoo, said, “It’s early days, but the piglets are doing great so far. They’re so small at the moment and their coats are covered in spots and stripes, which will slowly start to fade after about six months when they’ll take on their more iconic rusty coloring.”
“The trio are sticking very close to mum Mali (age 9), but it’s great to see them spending time with dad Con-Fetti. In fact, they can often be seen enjoying a nap whilst sat on top of him.”
Sarah continued, “This is the pairings first set of triplets, so they’ll soon be a real handful for mum and dad as they become more adventurous and playful. It’s amazing to see the family of seven together!”
Conservationists at Chester Zoo are keen to develop a greater understanding of how to care for the species in conservation breeding programmes, should the worst happen to the species and they become extinct in the wild.
Red River Hogs (Potamochoerus porcus) are also known as "tufted pigs" due to the white whiskers and tufts found on their ears. They are currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
More great pics, below the fold!