15 March 2023
Critically Endangered Visayan warty pig family forages for sweetcorn ahead of their first Mother’s Day at Whipsnade Zoo.
Keepers at Whipsnade Zoo have shared heart-warming photos of three-month-old Critically Endangered Visayan warty piglet Tadeo snuffling for sweetcorn with mum Tess ahead of their first Mother's Day together at the conservation zoo.
Tadeo was the first ever Visayan warty pig to be born at the conservation zoo, and his stripy arrival late last year was a boost for the threatened species, known as the world’s rarest pig due to their being fewer than 200 left in the wild.
Zookeeper Donovan Glyn said: “Tadeo isn’t just important to his mother Tess - who has diligently cared for her first little one since his December arrival, barely letting him out of her sight - but also to his species: Visayan warty pigs are Critically Endangered and Tadeo is part of an important European-wide collaborative breeding programme for the species.”
Known for their rockstar mullets and resemblance to humbug sweets when they’re young, Visayan warty pig numbers are heavily in decline - these important swines hail from just six small islands in the Philippines, where deforestation has devastated their populations, leaving just small pockets on two of the six islands.
While ZSL’s conservation zoo contributes to population recovery through collaborative breeding programmes, the ZSL sustainable business and finance team is helping to combat deforestation by promoting transparency in the global supply chains of timber, palm oil and rubber harvested from tropical forests. The team is also helping to restore mangrove forests in Indonesia through blue carbon finance to provide essential habitats for threatened species.
Three-month-old Tadeo, which means ‘praise’ in Filipino, has been progressing well since his exciting birth, hitting a number of important milestones. He was particularly intrigued by the recent cold snap, exploring his white blanked surroundings last week, while Mum Tess and Dad Mannie looked on.
“Tadeo is very social and playful,” said Don. “He’s enjoying exploring his woody, muddy environment and testing out his terrific sense of smell by seeking out tasty snacks hidden by zookeepers; at the moment his favourite food is sweet corn.”
The conservation zoo - which aims to protect species while inspiring the next generation of conservationists - will be celebrating parents this Mother’s Day (Sunday 19 March), inviting visitors to find out more about animal parenting during their visit.
“Lots of animals at Whipsnade have become parents since the last time we celebrated Mother’s Day,” explained Don. “Reticulated giraffe, Luna, gave birth to Wilf, Asian elephant Donna welcomed Nang Phaya, and short clawed otter Carol now has Pistachio and Peanut to take care of. They all have different parenting styles, which our keepers are looking forward to answering questions about on Sunday.”
Visit Tess and Tadeo and more than 10,000 other animals at Whipsnade Zoo this Mother’s Day, for the perfect family day out getting closer to wildlife.