The species is on the brink of extinction, with as few as 200 of the rare animals remaining in the wild.
We are delighted to announce the arrival of a Visayan warty piglet at the zoo!
The male newcomer arrived to mum Gwen (9) and dad Tre (10) on 16 November 2021 and now joins a family of five.
We were the first zoo in the UK to care for Visayan warty pigs, a species that gets its name from three pairs of fleshy warts on the boar’s face.
This latest arrival is vitally important to the endangered species breeding programme which is looking to maintain a genetically viable population of Visayan warty pigs in zoos around Europe.
“It’s fantastic to see the birth of any animal, but when they’re critically endangered and fighting for survival in the wild, it makes it even more special. Baby piglets are incredibly energetic and playful, and so the whole group will certainly be kept very busy over the coming months!”
Mark Brayshaw, Curator of Mammals.
Mark, our curator of mammals, continued to say:
“Visayan warty pigs aren’t just your average pig. During breeding season, males develop a long, protruding mane from their head, giving them a mohawk-like hairstyle. Both mum Gwen and dad Tre are named after punk rockers Gwen Stefani and Tre Cool as a result of this iconic look, and I’m sure it won’t be long until we’ve decided a suitable name to follow in that tradition.
“Every piglet is a vital addition to the breeding programme and will help champion the plight of this fascinating, charismatic species.”
These forest-dwelling pigs are listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union of Conservation for Nature (IUCN). Agricultural expansion and logging have devastated vast amounts of their native habitat in the Philippines. They are also hunted for their meat – making them one of the rarest wild pigs on the planet.
Little is currently known about these animals in the wild and experts say that by working closely with them in the zoo, they can transfer knowledge to further support the animals in the wild.
The latest addition to the breeding programme will be an ambassador for his relatives in the wild.