Last Chance Cabin

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Posted by Inyo on August 05, 2002 at 10:40:50:

On the small tropical Indonesian island of Sulawesi (formerly Celebes) and at the Saint Louis Zoo, the babirusa sets the standard for bizarre. To see this small, hairless pig is to realize this immediately. The babirusa is not just another pretty face-but it is an unforgettable one!

In 1990, the Saint Louis Zoo acquired a pair of these elusive forest-dwellers through a complex cooperative loan program. A two-and-a-half year old male born at the Bronx Zoo was traded to the Los Angeles Zoo but flown to St. Louis on breeding loan. Los Angeles then sent a replacement male to the Bronx Zoo. An unrelated female babirusa was then selected from the Los Angeles Zoo herd to pair with the new St. Louis resident. The net result was a breeding pair of babirusa owned by the Los Angeles Zoo but managed by the Saint Louis Zoo. Since this time, the Saint Louis Zoo has raised five litters of nine piglets.

Little is known about the natural history of the babirusa due to the difficulty of observing it in its thick jungle habitat. This shy pig lives in groups of five to fifteen animals in swamps and forests along rivers and lakes. The babirusa's coloration, torpedo-shaped body and deer-like movements enable it to melt silently into surrounding cover at the slightest disturbance

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