Rare Visayan Warty Pigs Born at San Diego Zoo

San Diego, California - Two energetic, four-week-old Visayan warty pigs showed off their running, jumping and climbing skills earlier today at the San Diego Zoo. The piglets, born on June 26, are still nursing from their mother but are beginning to eat solid foods of fruits and vegetables and particularly seem to enjoy lettuce. Keepers describe the piglets, whose genders are yet to be determined, as extremely curious and playful.

"These piglets are full of energy, running almost immediately after they are born," said Bob Cisneros, animal care supervisor. "They are continually learning new behaviors and spend most of their day engaging in play behaviors, though like any newborn, they sometimes take the time to nap in their beds of hay."

Despite its common name, Visayan warty pigs have only small facial warts. They have prominent snouts ending in a disk-like nose and tusks that are upturned lower canines. As adults, males generally have larger tusks and warts than females and are much larger in size. Both sexes sport a tuft of dark reddish-brown or black hairs on the crown of the head. During mating season, the spiky head tuft on the male grows into a long mane.

Visayan warty pigs, endemic to the Visayan Islands in the central Philippines, are a critically endangered species due to loss of habitat, illegal hunting and hybridization. In 1992, the San Diego Zoo partnered with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Philippines to create the Visayan Warty Pig Conservation Programme. Eighty piglets have been born at the San Diego Zoo since a founder group arrived in 2002.

Visitors to the Zoo can see the piglets with their sounder, or pig family, consisting of their parents and two other adult females, in their habitat in the Zoo's Panda Canyon.

To honor those who devote their lives to animal care and conservation, the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, along with zoos nationwide, are celebrating National Zoo Keeper Week July 20 through 26. There are more than 6,000 zoo keepers across the U.S. who care for animals in fields that involve medical care, training, research, enrichment and education.  San Diego Zoo Global salutes the animal care professionals who contribute to wildlife care and help increase public awareness about the need to preserve habitats and the creatures that inhabit them.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts representing both plants and animals at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The important conservation and science work of these entities is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

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