A new batch of warthog piglets have just joined the Detroit Zoo, adding to the growing population in the warthog family pen. The quintuplets are available to be viewed by the public in one of the zoo’s African exhibits, adjacent to the African Train Station. The piglets came into this world on April 8, and each of them were given names from the famous book and television series Game of Thrones. The three females were named after Sansa, Daenerys, and Cersei. The two boys were named after Hodor and Tyrion.
Matthew is looking quite forward to being able to see the new litter up close and personal, especially Tyrion, named after his favorite character. The new family members for the warthog enclosure are cute and energetic, as seen above. Children, teenagers, and adults alike will flock to see them race around and play.
The smallest piglet from the new litter, appropriately named Tyrion, has yet to join the main family. He needs to reach a certain weight before he can get in on the family fun. The zoo officials hope to place him in the enclosure within the next few weeks. While Tyrion may be small now, full-grown warthogs can reach weights up to 300 pounds and stand over two feet tall. Maybe Tyrion will still be the smallest when that time comes.
Aside from their sizes, warthogs usually come with four tusks that protrude from the sides of their snouts. Their bodies come with so little hair that they appear bald. However, they sport manes along the lengths of their necks, as well as long, tasseled tails. The defining features that gave the creatures their name are the facial warts they possess. Not the most attractive feature, but who would really turn the piglets away just for that.
In the wild, warthogs face natural and human threats, from droughts to hunting and poaching. Warthogs are mainly found in Africa’s savannahs and grasslands throughout the Sahara. Detroit Zoo officials say that due to the threats the species currently faces, they may become an endangered species in the future. With those potential disasters looming over the warthog species, it is an incredible thing that the Detroit Zoo is able to care for and continually raise up new litters each year, with the Game of Thrones piglets being the third one in as many years.
Scott Carter, the chief life science officer with the Detroit Zoological Society, said that the zoo is ecstatic about the new litter. He said that like all pigs, warthogs are intelligent animals, and are equally fun to observe interacting in their habitat enclosure. The only thing that would make Matthew more excited would be if they allowed some of the zoo attendants to pet the new piglets under the supervision of zoo officials.
The main thing to hope for is that the older litters graciously accept their new siblings into the fold and that no family disputes disrupt the steadily increasing warthog population. Not just at the Detroit Zoo, but for the other sounders throughout the African sub-Saharan neighborhood. Matthew hopes that this trend of new litters every year continues worldwide. And who knows, perhaps the zoo will accept more of the species from Africa if the opportunity arises.
Counting the new piglets joining the warthog family, or sounder, their Detroit Zoo population is up to twelve members. The quintuplets were the third birth to take place at the zoo. All three births were thanks to Lilith, the mother, who is 10 years old, and Linus, the father, who is 5 years old. Congratulations to the third-time parents on their latest children. May they continue to expand their wonderful family at the zoo.
Opinion by Matthew Austin Bowers
MLive: Detroit Zoo welcomes ‘Game of Thrones’ warthog piglets to bunch
Click On Detroit: Detroit Zoo debuts warthog piglets
The Detroit News: Detroit Zoo shows off new warthog piglets
Photo Courtesy of DJ Cockburn’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License