Yorkshire Wildlife Park: Saving the Warty Pig

Yorkshire Wildlife Park has plenty of iconic critters that are certain to impress visitors. The black rhinos, polar bears and Amur tigers, for example, are guaranteed to provoke appreciative oohs and ahs from delighted punters. But there’s other stuff too, animals that are pretty much unknown to all but the most dedicated wildlife geeks, animals that are maybe a bit more difficult to love. Warty Pigs, for example. I mean, whoever heard of a Warty Pig? And who cares?

I care! It’s true that Visayan Warty Pigs aren’t obviously cute or charismatic, but so what? All living things are intrinsically valuable, worthy of our respect and protection regardless of their looks or lifestyle. And there’s a reason why we’ve never heard of them: they’re all but extinct in the wild, and hail from the Philippines, a little known and unglamorous part of the globe that few of my fellow citizens could locate on a world atlas even if they’ve heard of the place at all.

The Visayan Warty Pig is classified as “critically endangered.” It is endemic to six of the Visayas Islands in the central Philippines, but is believed to be extinct on four of these. Their natural habitat is the rainforest, but between 95% to 98% of it has been lost to commercial forestry and slash-and-burn farming. With their natural food sources severely depleted, the pigs have resorted to raiding cultivated land, and are consequently persecuted as agricultural pests. They are also hunted for bushmeat.

There seems little doubt that, without a major conservation effort and captive breeding, the Visayan Warty Pig is doomed to extinction. Fortunately, there are many programmes, both in the Philippines and in zoos across the world, that are dedicated to saving the species.

And here’s where Yorkshire Wildlife Park is doing its bit. We’ve visited YWP several times over the last couple of years, and have been pleased to see a decent-sized group of adult females and youngsters going about their business in the ample, wooded Warty Pig enclosure. They are feisty, entertaining animals and you can enjoy some of their antics by clicking on the link below to my short video on YouTube.

The adult male – which boasts impressive facial warts, as well as a stiff, spiky crest of hair – lives next door to the main family group, replicating behaviour in the wild where males live apart from the females most of the time.

The male plainly knows his stuff, and his managed encounters with the females have produced multiple, humbug-striped piglets. My brief research on the internet confirms that other zoos are having similar breeding success, suggesting that Visayan Warty Pigs can thrive in captivity. Hopefully, one day, some of their descendants can be reintroduced to the wild, where they rightly belong.

31 comments

  1. Laurie Graves · January 19

    Really enjoyed the video. And I so agree with your philosophy that all living things are intrinsically valuable and deserve our respect. Reading tis post made my day.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Platypus Man · January 19

      Thank you, Laurie, your lovely message has made my day too! Warty Pigs are great, aren’t they.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ann Mackay · January 19

      I absolutely agree! And it makes me happy that zoos and wildlife parks are having success in breeding endangered animals…I wish them lots more success and many, many babies! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. shazza · January 19

    Aw, I think they look very cute. Their snouts look like they could sniff out plenty!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · January 19

      Yes, they’re loveable, and used their snouts to very good effect, forever rooting around in the mud and the leaf litter is search of edible treats!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. thelongview · January 19

    What a good animal! I’m so glad they’re being rescued from extinction.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. pjb317 · January 19

    I disagree with whoever thinks they’re not cute. They’re adorable! (I loved the one who was having such a good time with their toy!) Thanks for sharing this glimpse into their world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · January 20

      Yes, they are. Visiting their enclosure, and seeing what mischief is underway, is always a highlight when we visit Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely to become acquainted with the Visayan Warty Pig 🙂 I sometimes think that an unfortunate name doesn’t help the general population to fully embrace ( and get behind) some critters. He’d be much better known as a Stripey Pig, wouldn’t he? Warty has unpleasant associations.
    Thank you for the introduction.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Platypus Man · January 20

      You make a good point. Pigs already have a reputation for being dirty creatures, and “warty” makes them sound even less appealing. They need an image makeover, and a name like the one you propose would be a good start.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. tanjabrittonwriter · January 19

    I also enjoyed meeting this charming member of the pig family. It looks as though some of the larger piglets are benefiting from the availability of breast milk in Mama Pig even though it might not be their Mama! I hope the breeding program at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park will result in many more offspring!
    You also taught me two more British words, which had entirely different associations for me beforehand: punter (which makes me think of American football) and humbug-striped (which makes me think of Scrooge). 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · January 20

      Yes, some of those larger piglets were clearly behaving very badly. We just couldn’t help laughing as we watched their antics.

      I’m pleased that you enjoyed learning a new English vernacular word from this post. “Punter” is an informal term for customer or client, but depending on the context may refer specifically to a man using / seeking the services of a hooker, so it’s a word best used with care! As for humbugs, these are boiled sweets (candies, I think you’d say in the US), traditionally striped and flavoured with peppermint. You probably don’t have them in the US or Germany? The connection between the candies and Scrooge’s exclamation “Bah! Humbug!” is, however, a bit of a mystery.

      Liked by 2 people

      • tanjabrittonwriter · January 21

        That second meaning of punter was provided in the dictionary I used, and I will be sure to pay heed to your advice to use the word carefully. 🙂
        There actually are striped peppermint sweets in the US, but I have never heard them called humbugs. It’s a cute name.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. ThoughtsBecomeWords · January 21

    Good news all round! Reminds me of our Indigenous story of Moli det Bigbigi, the little pig from the bush who loves to eat Weetbix 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · January 23

      Thank you for directing me to Moli, which I’ve tracked down on the Internet (including part of it being read on YouTube). What a lovely book, and a lovely way to share an introduction to the Kriol language. In another life I used to work with children’s books, and this is just the sort of book I would have championed (although, of course, it’s relevance and cultural references are less immediate here in the UK). Looks like children’s literature at its best.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ThoughtsBecomeWords · January 26

        Thank you, and well said. I believe childhood books are the foundation of literacy.

        Like

  8. Adele Brand · January 22

    I’m a fan of warty pigs! It’s a shame that the pig’s wider genus / family isn’t more generally known because they have quite a few cool characters. And of course interesting cousins too, like peccaries. As it happens, I have relatives in the Philippines and have seen one species of warty pig in a zoo there. Would probably have been the Mindanao species.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · January 23

      “A fan of warty pigs” – I’m impressed! They’re rather special, aren’t they.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Adele Brand · January 23

        As are bearded pigs, which I came across in Borneo in the days before international travel was made mindbogglingly complex by a virus.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Platypus Man · January 24

        That’s a new one on me. Hopefully I’ll make their acquaintance one day, though I don’t imagine I’ll ever make it to Borneo.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. magarisa · January 23

    Thank you for introducing us to the Visayan Warty Pig! I really enjoyed the video.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Five Below on Saturday | Notes From the Hinterland
    • Platypus Man · January 25

      Thank you, Laurie. This “rule” has been the guiding principle of my adult life, and has served me well. And yes, it applies to people too (politicians of all persuasions please note! 🙂)

      Like

  11. Over from Laurie’s. Thanks for introducing Warty Pigs. They are new to me. … oh yes … all living things are valuable because they have a place and a role in the world of life.

    Liked by 1 person

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