Wild pigs are in hog heaven at the Woodland Park Zoo

May 4, 2012

Wild pigs are making their debut at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo this weekend. Domestic pigs have long been a fixture at the zoo's Family Farm, but this is the first time wild pigs have been on display.

Three critically endangered Visayan warty pigs are moving into Elephant Forest exhibit near the elephant pool.

Two warthogs are taking up residence in the 4.5 acre African Savanna exhibit, which also includes giraffe, hippos, gazelles, zebras and monkeys. 

According to the Zoo, warthogs and warty pigs live highly social lives in groups called sounders. A 1-year-old brother and sister from Zoo Atlanta make up the sounder of warthogs at Woodland Park Zoo. The sounder of Visayan warty pigs consists of a 9-year-old female and two 3-year-old sisters from Los Angeles Zoo.

Visayan warty pigs have spiky head tufts that resemble the hairdos of punk rockers. They come from six of the Visayan Islands in the central Philippines. Today, they remain on just two of the islands and have lost more than 95% of their forested habitat.

Warthogs live in grassland, savanna, and woodland in Sub-Saharan Africa, and are the only pig species adapted to grazing and savanna habitats. Although there are no major threats to warthog populations (estimated at around 250,000), the species is very susceptible to drought and hunting, which may result in localized extinctions.

Free piggy banks will be given to the first 500 kids at the zoo this weekend. More information is available at the Woodland Park Zoo.