Rare pigs born at Chester Zoo
Not one, not two, but three of the world’s rarest pigs have been born at Chester Zoo.
The tiny trio of babirusa piglets arrived to mother m Kendari following a pregnancy of five months.
It is the first time ever that babirusa triplets have been born at the zoo – a rare occurrence which is thought to only happen in around four per cent of babirusa births.
Babirusa are found on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia where their numbers have crashed to fewer than 5,000. They were once viewed as common but a proliferation of hunting for their meat and habitat loss has seen them disappear from many parts of the island.
Tim Rowlands, Curator of Mammals, said: “Babirusa are, without question, one of the of the rarest pig species on the planet. It’s an animal that’s extremely vulnerable to extinction and under huge pressure for its long term survival.
“We’re fighting alongside Indonesian conservationists and the Indonesian government to reverse the decline of the babirusa in its homeland.
“Chester Zoo is also one of the world leaders in breeding these charismatic pigs. By making sure there is a sustainable population in zoos, whose genetic diversity represents the genetic diversity in the wild, the global zoo community can play a vital role in saving this species from extinction. Kendari’s new trio of piglets are special additions to the world’s population.”
Conservationists from Chester Zoo are working with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and zoos in Indonesia to share husbandry practices and promote the importance of cooperative conservation breeding programmes to save the species; as well as helping to deliver education activities.
Back in the Chester, the latest set of piglets were born on 20 May. Given the sensitive nature of the species, mum had been caring for her youngsters in a special behind-the-scenes breeding area. But now, Kendari has shown off her important, playful newborns for the first time in the zoo’s babirusa habitat.