On The Move
Exotic Pigs Make a Perfect Pair at Riverbanks
Sep 7, 2012
Zoo’s Newest Couple Now on Exhibit
COLUMBIA, SC - September 7, 2012 - – Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is now home to a female babirusa—a rare, tusked animal native of Indonesia and the second of its kind at the Zoo since the addition of a male pig named Bertello in February of 2011.
Wilma, a 2 ½ year old swine, 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 a 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.
Babirusas are known to be gifted swimmers. In the wild, these animals prefer to live in moist, tropical forests and along the shores of rivers and lakes. The species has always been rare, but is now considered vulnerable due to shrinking habitat and over-hunting.
At Riverbanks, Wilma and Bertello can be seen on exhibit daily adjacent to the African Bird Yard during normal Zoo hours.
Riverbanks Zoo & Garden
For nearly 40 years, Riverbanks Zoo & Garden has connected individuals, families and groups with the world's wildlife and wild places. It is the mission of Riverbanks Zoo and Garden to foster appreciation and concern for all living things. Riverbanks is located at 500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia, SC 29210. The Botanical Garden entrance is located at 1300 Botanical Parkway, West Columbia, SC 29169. The park is open daily from 9am to 5pm, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Admission is $11.75 for adults, $9.25 for children ages 3 – 12 and free for children 2 and under. Group rates and other discounts may apply. Year-round membership packages are also available. For more information, call Riverbanks at 803.779.8717, visit www.riverbanks.org or www.facebook.com/riverbankszoo.