The first successful birth of the endangered babirusa species in the zoo’s history was celebrated on December 15 at Zoo Miami.
The 4-year-old mother, Maggie from the St. Louis Zoo, and the 4-year-old father, Harry from the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, are expecting their first child together.
The gender of the infant is yet unclear, according to Zoo Miami, as it is being kept apart from its mother so that it can adjust to its surroundings.
Babirusa, which translates to “pig deer,” is thought to have originated from the males’ peculiar appearance due to the growth of tusks on top of their heads that resemble antlers. According to the zoo, the upper tusks will eventually coil back into the skull after growing up through the face.
Babirusas inhabit the wetlands and rainforests of Indonesia. In human care, they can survive up to 20 years, but their average lifespan is only 10 years. Fruits, roots, insects, small mammals, and occasionally their young make up their food.
The males will compete for territory by standing on their hind legs and striking with their front legs, according to the zoo. The two main challenges they face are habitat loss and poaching.
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