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WATCH: Rare piglet at Chester Zoo

Indonesian piglet born at Upton zoo is about to make its first public appearance

One of the rarest piglets in the world has been born at Chester Zoo .

The baby babirusa named Matano by zookeepers was born to mum Majene and dad Sausu following a 161-day pregnancy.

Matano was born in early December and in the weeks and months since, keeps are kept a watchful eye on her and mum in a special behind-the-scenes area.

Now, the mum and youngster are ready to make their first public appearances together.

Curator of mammals, Tim Rowlands said: Babirusa are a sensitive species and we needed to give mum and baby plenty of quiet time to bond.

"Majene is a great, experienced mother who is very protective and extremely watchful over her piglet. Little Matano doesn't leave her side."

Babirusa are native to the Indonesian Island, Sulawesi where numbers are in serious decline.

Chester Zoo is one of only a handful of zoos in Europe to have successfully bred the distinctive animals. The arrival of Matano is being hailed at "important for the future of the species."

Tim said: "Babirusa pigs are highly threatened.

"They're one of the rarest pig species on the planet so our new little arrival is a significant addition to the world's population."

"Years of planning and preparation have gone into us being able to successfully breed babirusa here.

"Matano is important for the future of the species so we're thrilled to bits with her.

"We hope that one day Matano will grow up to become a vital part of the international breeding programme which is working to safeguard the species by ensuring there's a healthy, viable back-up population in the event that they disappear from the wild."

Some of the zoo's five babirusa will move to a brand new exhibit when the Islands project opens in June .

Islands will recreate habitats in the Philippines, Bali, Sulawesi, Papua, Sumba and Sumatra.

Earlier in the year, three of the world's rarest tigers took their first steps at Chester Zoo.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
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