Exotic pigs find home at Riverbanks Zoo

Wilma and Bertello (Source: Riverbanks Zoo)
Wilma and Bertello (Source: Riverbanks Zoo)
Wilma (Source: Riverbanks Zoo)
Wilma (Source: Riverbanks Zoo)

COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) - Riverbanks Zoo and Garden just welcomed a female babirusa—a rare, tusked animal native of Indonesia and the second of its kind to make a home in their zoo since male pig Bertello came along in February 2011.

Wilma is a two and a half year old swine and came to Riverbanks in February from the St. Louis Zoo based on the breeding recommendations of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Babirusa Species Survival Plan.

"We are excited to finally have a suitable match for Bertello," said John Davis, curator of mammals at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. "Since her arrival at Riverbanks, keepers have been gradually introducing Wilma to her new home and after a six month adjustment period, she and Bertello are now ready to go on exhibit as a pair."

Babirusa is the Maylasian term meaning deer-pig. A member of the pig family, this unusual, nearly hairless creature has thick, wrinkly skin and elongated legs that allow it to run swiftly like a deer. Males can be recognized by their long, protruding tusks, while female tusks are shorter and typically not visible.

At Riverbanks, Wilma and Bertello can be seen on exhibit daily adjacent to the African Bird Yard during normal Zoo hours.

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