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.
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 andion 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
“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
“It’s our tradition to name our Warty Pigs after famous punks. Mum Viv was named after Vivien 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
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
- Male Visayan Warty Pigs have tough spikey hair with an
unusual looking mane and crest
- Visayan Warty Pigs eat roots, forest fruits, cereal and
- They are found in patches of the remaining rainforest on
the Visayan islands in the central Philippines