The piglets were found in the early morning by keepers who had been checking on the pregnant female at 4:00 am every day for the last few weeks. First-time mother Kumari is 5-years-old and is caring properly for her new offspring. “The piglets have been nursing regularly and Kumari is doing all the right things with her new babies,” commented Mike McClure, the Zoo’s general curator. “They are active and energetic and appear to be in good health.” During their first veterinary exam on Tuesday, March 30, the piglets weighed a little over 3 pounds each.
Females give birth to three piglets per litter on average. Mother warthogs nurse and care for their offspring until they are about 21 weeks of age, at which point they have to fend for themselves. Kajani, like all male warthogs, does not participate in rearing his offspring, and is living separately from Mom and babies for now.
The common warthog (Phacochoerus africanus) is a species of wild pig native to Africa. They are commonly seen in Africa’s open grasslands but also seek out denser vegetation. Warthogs can also survive in desert fringes. The Maryland Zoo’s warthogs are in the African Journey section of the Zoo near the Giraffe Feeding Station.
“Our new babies won’t be on exhibit for a few weeks, so we can ensure they have properly bonded with Mom and that the exhibit is baby-proofed for their safety,” said McClure. “So far the piglets have been developing quickly and growing like weeds! They are just over a week old and they are already investigating solid food and playing and running around their barn!”
The birth is the result of a recommendation from the Warthog Population Management Plan (PMP) coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). PMPs provide breeding recommendations to maximize genetic diversity, with the goal of ensuring the long-term survival of the captive population and the health of individual animals.
he AZA Small Population Management Advisory Group (SPMAG) at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago to helps develop breeding recommendations for the advancement and sustainability of warthogs in AZA-accredited zoos.