Public Gets First Peek at Piglets

Date: 
Thu, 07/07/2011

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - July 7, 2011 - The New England Farmyard just got a little noisier and the Rainforest Building a bit wilder as Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo celebrates the birth of nine new piglets and welcomes an additional Pygmy Marmoset. The playful piglets join their Guinea Hog parents Hamton J. Pig, the lone male pig, and Olivia. The new Pygmy Marmoset came to Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo last month from Zoo Montana.

"Good things can come in small packages," commented Zoo director Gregg Dancho. "Our new piglets are all happily eating, sleeping, and playing in their new surroundings; and the new Pygmy Marmoset is adjusting well to her new home."

The public is invited to visit the newborn piglets in the New England Farmyard. Hamton hails from the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, Virginia originally, while Olivia came from Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas. 

The new female Pygmy Marmoset, named Eko, is 2 years old and has been in the Animal Care Center since her arrival from Montana to give her time to get acclimated to her new surroundings. She joins a male Pygmy Marmoset, Weechie, who is 5 years old and has been at the Zoo for some time. Eko was brought to Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo in order to mate, in keeping with the Zoo's goals of animal conservation and species survival promotion. They were introduced a little over a week ago at the Zoo's Animal Care Center before returning to the exhibit. If breeding is successful, gestation is usually four and a half months; with between one to four offspring expected. It is not uncommon for Pygmy Marmosets to give birth to twins.

Pygmy Marmosets are one of the world's smallest primates. They weigh less than a naval orange and could fit in the palm of a hand. Unfortunately, these sociable monkeys are often victims of illegal pet trade, in part due to their outgoing demeanor and "cute" appearance. Their status is continually threatened due to habitat destruction, with shrinking rainforests worldwide. Half of these species call rainforests home, but have been forced into progressively smaller and less suitable habitats. Places like Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo, which focus on protecting such vital wildlife, are committed to studying animals like Pygmy Marmosets more closely and providing them with improved opportunities to breed and reside.

Guinea Hogs are quick learners with a substantial memory, using their sense of taste to identify objects. While the newborn piglets range in weight from one to two pounds, adult Guinea Hogs typically weigh 150-300 pounds and grow to a height of 21-24 inches. They are hearty grazers who forge for shrubs, weeds, bird eggs, snakes, mice, grasshoppers, roots, tubers, and even manure. They are gentle animals found in sounders (herds) and tend to call farms home, however, they may be found in deserts and mountainous areas, as well.

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