Babirusa might be among the oddest looking animals at Chester Zoo, but we're extremely proud of them.

Over the last few years we have been successful in breeding a pair of piglets a number of times which is great news for the future of the species because babirusa are vulnerable in the wild, with fewer than 5,000 left.

They come from Sulawesi in Indonesia where for many years they were targeted by hunters for meat. Just as equal a threat to their survival now is the loss of the rainforest lands they live on, as it is taken over by farmers and developers.

As their survival in the wild is put at risk, zoo breeding programmes like ours are an important way of ensuring the species does not die out altogether.

That's why we are delighted with the birth of our piglets, including most recently Matano, as they are among the rarest pigs in the world. We are one of only a handful of zoos in the whole of Europe which has successfully bred these distinctive animals.

They are members of the pig family but in Indonesia the name babirusa means pig deer after their unusual appearance, especially the males with their big curling tusks. You cannot fail to spot them!

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Interesting facts

IUCN Status Vulnerable
Where they live
Indonesia including northern Sulawesi, Muna, Buton and Lembeh
Habitat Tropical rainforests, near streams and rivers.
Size 65-80cm shoulder height; up to 1m length
Weight Up to 100kg
Threats Hunting for food; habitat loss
Scientific Name Babyrousa babyrussa