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An Adorable Pair of Babirusa Piglets Born at Audubon Zoo

Guests Can See Newborns During Thanksgiving Week


Audubon Zoo welcomed the birth of Ginger and Ivy, two babirusa piglets, on October 14, 2016. The newborns are the third litter born at Audubon to mom Betty and dad Wrigley.

Visitors to Audubon Zoo this week can get a first look at Ginger and Ivy, two babirusa piglets born October 14, 2016. The piglets are the third litter born at Audubon Zoo to mom Betty and dad Wrigley.

Ivy gets her name from the foliage which adorns the outfield walls of historic Wrigley Field. The baseball connection continues a Chicago Cubs theme at Audubon Zoo that started with dad Wrigley and continued with the two of the newborns' siblings - Clark and Addison - the names of two streets that intersect outside the iconic ballpark and home for the 2016 World Series champions.

The choice of Ginger is simpler: It's a favorite browse treat of the Audubon babirusa family.

Wrigley was born at Audubon Zoo in January 2005; Betty, originally from the St. Louis Zoo, was born in November 2009. Clark and Addison, along with another sibling, Fig, are currently participating in breeding programs at other facilities.

Mandy Turnbull,  Asia Domain Assistant Curator
Many people don't realize that Audubon Zoo is one of the few facilities in the United States that exhibit these species, so our guests witness something rare when they visit our babirusa and watch these piglets grow. Our hope is that by experiencing these dynamic animals and learning about the pressures they face in the wild, guests are inspired to work with us in supporting conservation efforts for babirusa in their native Indonesia.
Mandy Turnbull, Asia Domain Assistant Curator

Babirusa are found primarily on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi north of Borneo. Even though babirusa are a protected species, they are threatened in the wild due to illegal hunting and habitat loss.

Audubon Zoo, which has produced eight babirusa piglets since 2005, takes part in the Babirusa Species Survival Plan in partnership with other Association of Zoos and Aquariums members.

For the next few weeks, Ginger and Ivy will be adjusting to their new environment and may be outside for limited times until they settle in.

Babirusa Facts

  • They are omnivores and will eat fruits, nuts, leaves, small invertebrates, birds and even turtles in the wild. At Audubon Zoo, the menu occasionally includes hard-boiled eggs in addition to their daily diet.
  • Males typically have two sets of tusks, one on the lower jaw and one that grows from the top jaw through the top of the snout towards the head. Wrigley likely lost his top tusks due to an injury when he was young.
  • Babirusa means "pig deer'' in the native Malay language. One theory posits that the Sulawesi people gave the babirusa this moniker because its large canines are mindful of deer antlers.
  • Like most pigs, babirusa enjoy wallowing in mud, which helps protect them from insects and the sun.
  • Babirusa are excellent swimmers and very intelligent, social animals who enjoy interaction with animal care staff, partcularly when training.

Audubon Zoo is located at 6500 Magazine St, New Orleans, La., 70118.

Audubon Nature Institute

Audubon Nature Institute operates a family of museums, parks and research facilities dedicated to celebrating the wonders of nature. Through innovative live animal exhibits, education programs, and scientific discovery, Audubon makes a meaningful contribution to preserving wildlife for the future. Audubon Nature Institute flagships include Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Entergy Giant Screen Theater, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and Audubon Wilderness Park. Ron Forman is President and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute.