Babirsa piglet and mother Myrtle on exhibit in Asian Gardens.
First Babirusa Born at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo Now on ExhibitJun 11, 2012
TAMPA, Fla. (June 7, 2012) – A tiny babirusa piglet, weighing about one pound at birth, is now on exhibit with his mother “Myrtle” in the Zoo’s Asian Gardens habitat area. The Zoo’s first babirusa litter arrived May 13 overnight (Mother’s Day). A second piglet born in the same litter did not survive.
The babirsa birth is the first for the Zoo, and a significant conservation milestone for the species with fewer than 50 animals in the managed population. The Zoo’s babirusas are members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Wild Pig, Peccary & Hippo Taxon Advisory Group, designed to support the conservation of select wildlife species at risk of extinction.
Now three weeks old, the male newborn nurses routinely and is well-bonded with mom. The pair is on exhibit for limited hours as the piglet grows and gains strength. The Zoo has two additional babirusas – father “Toomey” and an older female named “Rosie.”
“With just 20 viable breeding pairs of this endangered species in the managed population, each birth is extremely important in our efforts to sustain its viability,” noted Dr. Larry Killmar, VP and director of animal science and conservation. “We are proud to be one of just 14 AZA institutions to have the opportunity to participate in this program.”
Adult male babirusas have a distinct appearance with lower and upper tusks (canines), resembling the antlers of a deer. The name babirusa is translated as “pig deer.” Unlike most pigs, which have large litters, female babirusas have an average of just 1-2 per litter. Piglets are vocal and active within a few days after birth.
The Asian Gardens habitat area, where the babirusas are housed, was made possible by funding from the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners.
About Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo
Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is operated by the Lowry Park Zoological Society, an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization committed to excellence in education, conservation and research. Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and has been named the No. 1 zoo in America by both Parents magazine (2009) and Child magazine (2004). The Zoo is located at 1101 W. Sligh Avenue in Tampa, one mile west of I-275 (exit 48) and is open seven days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with extended hours on select nights during special events. Zoo daytime admission prices are: adult - $23.95, seniors (60+) - $21.95, children ages 3-11 - $18.95, and children 2 and under are free. Daytime admission is value-priced to include unlimited amusement rides. Parking is free. For more information, visit LowryParkZoo.com. Also find the Zoo on Facebook.
Director of Public Relations
813-935-8552 x 212
AZA Members: Submit your Zoo & Aquarium News