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Rare warty piglets born at Norfolk wildlife park

PUBLISHED: 08:34 16 July 2014 | UPDATED: 10:02 16 July 2014

Two week old Visayan piglets at Thrigby Hall and Wildlife Gardens. Photo by Joe Blossom.

Two week old Visayan piglets at Thrigby Hall and Wildlife Gardens. Photo by Joe Blossom.

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Four warty piglets have been welcomed into the world at an east Norfolk wildlife park.

Two week old Visayan piglets at Thrigby Hall and Wildlife Gardens. Photo by Joe Blossom. Two week old Visayan piglets at Thrigby Hall and Wildlife Gardens. Photo by Joe Blossom.

The brood of rare Visayan warty pigs were born at Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens in Filby, near Great Yarmouth, two weeks ago.

Their arrival is a huge success for the critically endangered species, as well as something special for the wildlife park just ahead of the school holidays.

Thrigby Hall is part of an international programme for the conservation of warty pigs, managed by the British and Irish Association of Zoos and the European Association of Zoos.

The warty pig, with their distinctive white stripes at birth and long snouts, can only be found in the wild on two islands in the central Philippines.

“The warty pigs are threatened in the wild by habitat loss, food shortages and hunting,” said Ken Sims, director of Thrigby Hall, a keen conservationist who was recently made an honorary fellow of the Zoological Society of London.

“Some 95 per cent of the pigs’ natural habitat has been cleared by farmers who cut down forests to plant crops.

“We joined the conservation programme earlier this year and are delighted to have four healthy warty piglets at Thrigby, as well as three adult pigs. “This programme is an excellent example of the way that UK and European zoos and wildlife parks work together to conserve threatened species, who struggle to survive in their natural habitat due to human intervention.”

The Visayan warty pig gets its name from fleshy ‘warts’ on the boar’s face. It is thought that the warts have evolved as a natural defence against rival boars’ tusks during a fight. There are so few wild warty pigs, little is known of their behaviours or characteristics outside of captivity.

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