Warthog piglets born at Zoo Atlanta
Friday, April 18, 2014
Shirley welcomes spring with fifth litter
ATLANTA – April 18, 2014 – Shirley, an 8-year-old warthog, gave birth to her fifth litter of piglets on April 17, 2014. The experienced mother delivered four piglets, but two are in guarded condition. Infant mortality is not uncommon for warthogs in their fragile early days of life. The Animal Management and Veterinary Teams continue to monitor Shirley and her newborns closely.
Shirley’s pregnancy was confirmed via ultrasound in February 2014. Warthog gestation averages five to six months, with a typical litter size of three to five piglets.
“We’re thrilled about these new arrivals, particularly since Shirley’s piglets are something we’ve come to associate with the beginning of spring and an exciting new season at Zoo Atlanta,” said Raymond B. King, President and CEO. “Over the years, we’ve also had an opportunity to see firsthand what fun warthog piglets are, and we can’t wait to introduce these little guys to our Members and guests.”
The piglets will have an opportunity to bond with their mother behind the scenes before meeting their father, 8-year-old Vern. Vern has proven to be an attentive and interested parent toward Shirley’s previous litters, despite the fact that wild warthog fathers have little or no contact with their offspring. Found throughout the savanna of eastern sub-Saharan Africa, the species is not currently classified as endangered.
Visitors can expect to see the family on exhibit in the Zoo’s African Plains in early May. The opportunity to name the piglets will be offered as part of the silent auction at The Beastly Feast, the annual black-tie gala to benefit Zoo Atlanta, on Saturday, May 3. Stay tuned for more details on the piglets’ debut.