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Rare Visayan Warty Piglets born at Chester Zoo


Recent estimates suggests just 200 Warty Pigs are left in their native habitat in the Visayan Islands in the central Philippines - making them the rarest of all wild pigs.

The decline of the species is blamed mostly on habitat loss and hunting.

                                
                                                      Chester Zoo Logo.jpg


Dave White, team manager at the zoo, said:

“Once upon a time Warty Pigs thrived on at least six islands in the Philippines but, today, wild populations can only be found in the little forest that’s left on the islands of Panay and Negros. Sadly, they've been driven to the very edge of extinctg and
ion in the wild.

“Commercial and illegal loggin
 agricultural expansion has devastated the forests where they live and, to compound things further, they’re overhunted – in fact their meat can command double the price of domestic pork in local markets and restaurants.

“The Visayan Warty Pig is species which is seeing its long-term survival come under serious pressure.”


Chester Zoo was the first zoo in the UK to welcome Visayan Warty Pigs, a species that gets its name from its small facial warts, when two pairs arrived for conservation breeding purposes in February 2007.

Its latest youngsters - born to mum Viv and first time dad Tre - currently boast yellow and brown stripes, a camouflage which will eventually fade at around 9-12 months.

Keepers are yet to choose names for the new duo – a male and a female – although they will follow in the zoo’s tradition of naming them after punk rock stars in tribute to the spiky, Mohawk-like manes they grow as adults.  


Mr White added:

“The piglets are
vitally important to a breeding programme which is looking to maintain a genetically viable population of the species in zoos around Europe. Already they’re very, very confident, full of energy and extremely curious and playful.

“It’s our tradition to name our Warty Pigs after famous punks. Mum Viv was named after Vivie
n Westwood and dad Tre after Tre Cool, the drummer from the band Greenday!

“Last year Viv and Tre and the rest of our group of Visayan Warty Pigs moved into a brand new home at the zoo – a new area in our huge Islands exhibit which puts a spotlight on a whole host of threatened species from South East Asia. Islands is the biggest zoo development of all time in the UK and this successful breeding is a great indicator that they’ve quickly settled in and are comfortable in their new surroundings. We’re really pleased with how they’re getting on.” 

In the wild, Chester Zoo has long-supported an education and breeding programme in the Philippines which, working with local communities, is actively engaged in protecting the Visayan Warty Pig and its forest habitat. 

Visayan Warty Pig facts

  • The Visayan Warty Pig is a small, forest-dwelling pig
  • Little is known about the species and few behavioural studies have occurred in the wild
  • They stay in small groups but often males will be alone 
  • Male Visayan Warty Pigs have tough spikey hair with an unusual looking mane and crest
  • Visayan Warty Pigs eat roots, forest fruits, cereal and vegetable crops
  • They are found in patches of the remaining rainforest on the Visayan islands in the central Philippines



http://www.vetedit.com/images/filetypeicons/16x16/lnk.png More information on Warty Pigs
Twin Visayan Warty Pigs - a species listed by conservationists as critically endangered