Thursday, July 1, 2010

Three little pigs hog the limelight

Keepers at Edinburgh Zoo are celebrating the birth of three male red river hog piglets. Born on 6 June 2010, red river hogs have been at Edinburgh Zoo since 2004 and this is the second year they have bred successfully.

Photo: couteousy RZSS

The piglets named Ellis, Mosses and Nelson after stadiums in South Africa featured in the FIFA World Cup 2010 (Ellis Park, Moses Mabhida and Nelson Mandela), were born to proud parents Belle and Hamish. Currently the piglets have yellow and brown stripy coats but when they mature they will look very different. Adult red river hogs have a shaggy red coat, with a tufted white stripe running the length of their back. They also have long black and white tassels of hair hanging from each ear.

Photo: courteousy RZSS

Sue Gaffing, Head Keeper of Hoofstock at Edinburgh Zoo, said:

“We are delighted that for a second year our adult pair has produced piglets. At almost a month old they are really playful and have been chasing each other around their enclosure. At this age they are particularly cute so it’s a really good to see them.”

Red river hogs can be found throughout western and central Africa, living in wet habitats like swamps and marshes. In the wild, they are hunted by leopards, lions, hyenas and pythons. Humans also hunt them for bush meat, leading to a declining population.

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