3 July 2024

One of the world’s rarest pigs has given birth at our conservation Zoo – to a trio of stripy piglets.

Born on 10 June, the Visayan warty piglets, one male and two females, are a welcome boost to the conservation breeding programme for the Critically Endangered species. Once found on six of the Visayan islands in the Philippines, the rare pigs are now found on only two.

The piglets are born with a distinctive stripe pattern on their orange-coloured backs, which helps them blend in with the forest floor and protect them from predators. Whipsnade’s new arrivals will slowly develop their adult colouration and mohawk hairstyles over the next year.

Proving that three really is a lucky number, mum Tessa carried her infants for three months, three weeks and three days exactly, before giving birth to her tiny trio.

Viyasa warty pig

Zookeeper Gracie Gee said: “We were absolutely delighted to come into work to find Tessa, our female Visayan warty pig, tending to three tiny newborns.

“She’s an excellent mum; really attentive and patient – especially when they’re all trying to get her attention at once!

“The pigs – now considered one of the world’s rarest species – are part of a conservation breeding programme which will help to boost the numbers of these animals, in a safe and protected environment, ensuring there’s a back-up population should wild reintroductions be considered the best action.”

Habitat destruction reduced the species’ habitat to a fraction of what it once was, largely driven by logging for hardwoods in the 1970s and 1980s. The pigs, recognisable for their distinctive mohawks, were originally found in rainforests across six islands, and have recently only been recorded on Negros Island and Panay.

Playing a vital role in the ecosystem, Visayan warty pigs help to keep the rainforest environment fertile and healthy as they aerate the soil with their hooves, while ‘planting’ seeds in their droppings.

Gracie added: “It’s often said that three’s a charm – and with these precious new arrivals, we couldn’t agree more!”

A visit to us this summer is not only a great day out for the whole family, but helps to support the work of our overarching international conservation charity ZSL – book a ticket now to explore the UK’s largest zoo and the wonders of the animal kingdom.

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