The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore’s newest arrivals, two male common warthog piglets, were officially introduced to the public this morning as Cecil and Kirby. The two were named by popular vote after the team of zoo keepers each selected one name. Over 1,300 votes were cast for each name, with Cecil coming up with 27.4% of the vote for name one and Kirby with 28.7% of the vote for name two. Kirby is the larger of the two brothers, with hair that seems reddish in the sunlight. Cecil is a bit smaller and dark-haired.
These two warthogs were born on Monday, March 22 to Kumari and Kajani, the Zoo’s warthog pair. The each weighed a little over three pounds at their first exam and have been growing steadily ever since. They will be outside exploring the warthog yard for a few hours each day, weather permitting, as Mom Kumari keeps them under her watchful eye.
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.
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. The 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.