Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Visayan Warty Pig

Visayan Warty Pig as the LA Zoo
One of my favorite things about going to new zoos is seeing incredible species that I never even new existed. One critter that I encountered at both the Los Angeles and San Diego zoos was the Visayan Warty Pig, one of the most endangered pigs int eh entire world.

The species was endemic to only six islands in the Philippines, and they are now extinct on four of those due to overhunting and habitat loss. When farming began to spread, the pigs were considered pests and were exterminated. Negros and Panay are now the only places were the Visayan Warty Pig can be found in the wild. Because they are so rare in the wild, and were only recognized as a species in the early 1990s, little is actually known about their behavior outside of captivity.

We do know that the species is social, and lives in small groups of around half a dozen members (sometimes more). The give birth during the dry season (January through March) and have an average of four piglets. They are herbivores that feed on fruits and roots.

Once the species was evaluated, emergency breeding programs were set up in a handful of zoos worldwide. Los Angeles, San Diego, St. Louis, and Oregon are some of the locations in the United States that are working to preserve this species that has lost 95% of its wild population.

IUCN Status : Critically Endangered
Location : Philippines
Size : Body Length up to 4ft (1.2m), Weight up to 88lbs (40kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Artiodactyla
Family : Suidae -- Genus : Sus -- Species : S. cebifrons

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