Warthogs and Critically Endangered Warty Pigs Debut at Woodland Park Zoo
Get ready for warts, rooting, dusting and wallowing when some mighty fine swine headline Woodland Park Zoo this summer. African warthogs, the wild pigs of the savanna, and critically endangered Visayan warty pigs, the punk rockers of the pig world native to central Philippines, will make their public appearance on Saturday, May 5.
Domestic pigs have for many years been a crowd-pleaser at the zoo’s Family Farm, but the debut of the two new pig species will mark the first time that wild pigs will join the zoo.
Wild pigs live in highly social groups called "sounders." A 1-year-old brother and sister from Zoo Atlanta will make up the sounder of warthogs at Woodland Park Zoo. The exhibit will take visitors to the moist and arid savannas of East Africa, in a 4.5-acre, award-winning African Savanna that offers sweeping views dotted with giraffe, hippos, patas monkeys and lions.
The sounder of Visayan warty pigs, a 9-year-old and two 3-year-old females from Los Angeles Zoo, will make their home in a broadleaf tropical forest landscape that evokes the endangered species’ fragile habitat in the Philippines. The exhibit is located in the Elephant Forest near the elephant pool.
Warthogs jumped to fame when the character Pumbaa endeared itself to fans of Disney’s “The Lion King.” The animals earned their name from the large facial warts on each side of their tusks.
“Warthogs are a common sight on the African savanna," notes Martin Ramirez, a mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo. "They have long legs to escape predators and often are spotted sprinting very fast with their tails sticking straight up like little flagpoles.”
Visayan warty pigs’ distinctive head tufts resemble a punk hairdo gelled with hair product. The punk look is even more prominent during breeding season when males erect both tuft and mane for a larger, impressive appearance.
Keeper chats and hands-on activities focused on warty pigs and warthogs will be offered throughout the summer and are free with zoo admission. To learn more about these animals, visit www.zoo.org.