Utica Zoo debuts new species of Critically Endangered Warty Pig
The Utica Zoo has debuted a trio of Visayan Warty Pigs as their newest animal species to call the Zoo home. The three pigs, named Axl, Ace, and Ozzy, are a species of Critically Endangered pig native to The Philippines.
Visayan Warty Pigs are most noted by their distinctive crests and manes that run down the tops of their backs, as well as their tusks. Due to their mohawk like manes, the pigs got their names in homage to rock greats Axl Rose, Ace Frehley, and Ozzy Osbourne, earning them the nicknames “The Rockstar Pigs of the Utica Zoo”. Warty Pigs are found in the central Philippine Islands and feed on fruits, vegetables, and roots.
As a result of a sharp decline in population numbers, the IUCN Red List, the leading authority on conservation status of animals worldwide, has listed this species as critically endangered. Caused by growing industry, farming, over-hunting, hybridization, and human interactions, the wild population of the Visayan Warty Pig has declined more than 80% in the last 20 years. Visayan Warty Pigs have been eliminated from half of the Philippine Islands and are considered functionally extinct on 2 of the 6 islands.
“We care for more than 10 critically endangered and endangered species, and we view each one as a great responsibility,” said Mark Simon, Marketing Coordinator at the Utica Zoo, “but our Animal Care staff are the best at what they do and the pigs already seem to be fully comfortable inside their exhibit space. Being able to watch them run and wrestle together is really interesting and we hope our visitors will appreciate being able to view and learn about another critically endangered animal.”
The Visayan Warty Pig exhibit is located near the Scenic Overlook next to Bactrian Camels and Trans-Caspian Urial. The Utica Zoo is open from 10 am-4:45 pm every day of the week, including Easter Sunday.
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