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Joy as endangered warty pigs born at Newquay Zoo

Female Visayan warty pig, May – one of the rarest animals at Newquay Zoo – has just given birth to two piglets.

She and the father, who is called Randy, are part of a breeding programme that’s helping to boost the ex-situ population of Visayan warty pigs across the world due to their Critically Endangered status in the wild.

Warty pigs live in the forests of the Negros and Panay islands of the Philippines. However, habitat destruction, over-hunting for sport, reprisals for raids on crops and inadequate protection, have all resulted in the dramatic decline and near extinction of the warty pig in the wild. They are extinct in 98% of their former range and there are now estimated to be as few as 200 animals left in the Philippines.

The piglets have been born with stripes, which act as camouflage in the wild and will fade in around a year when the piglets reach maturity. The pair have yet to be sexed, but they are already on their feet and exploring under the supervision of their mother.

Dave Rich, Keeper Team Leader at Newquay Zoo, said: “We’re really pleased at how the piglets are doing so far. They are happy and healthy, charging around and playing together. Their camouflage is so good that it’s a fun challenge to spot them when they’re hiding in the straw!”

Warty pigs get their unusual name from the three pairs of warts that male pigs have on their faces to protect them when fighting. Males also grow impressive manes during the mating season, which can become as long as nine inches. These manes not only help to attract mates, but when threatened, warty pigs will raise their manes to appear more intimidating.