The Chester Zoo in Cheshire, England has welcomed some adorable babies in the past few weeks! On May 26, a pair of Red river hogs were born to mother Mali after a four month gestation period. The babies have not been sexed and are unnamed. These tiny little piglets are so small, they could fit in your pocket! This is Mali’s first birth and both her and the piglets are doing well. Out of all pig species in Africa, Red river hogs are the smallest. When they are born, they are brightly spotted and striped, but they will lose that coloring when they are around 6 months old. Unfortunately, though they were once common, Red river hogs are now declining due to over-hunting and habitat loss. But thankfully, places like the Chester Zoo are helping to raise awareness for threatened species around the globe.
Along with the piglets, the Chester Zoo also welcomed two astoundingly adorable baby African sengis, or Round-eared elephant shrews as some may know them as. The twins, named Ping and Pong for their tiny size, are doing well and have their zookeepers (and us) swooning! Though they were initially thought to be related to shrews, these teeny animals (weighing just 45 grams and measuring 10cm when fully grown!) are the closest living relatives to elephants, manatees, and aardvarks! Sengis can run at over 18 MPH and have tons of energy.
Like the Red river hogs, the Chester Zoo is aiding threatened and declining species through their breeding programs and public outreach. The zoo stated, “Breeding these small mammals here gives us a rare opportunity to learn more intriguing details about their reproductive ecology and what makes these remarkable animals tick. Collecting information like this, and developing skills along the way, can be vital when it comes to assisting with the conservation of similar, highly threatened species, in the wild.”
Congratulations to the Chester Zoo on these amazing Zoo Borns!