Battersea Park Children’s Zoo has welcomed the birth of two rare piglets who were born on Tuesday 20th July 2021.
Cynthia, the Oxford Sandy and Black pig gave birth to her first litter which are a huge success in conserving this British breed at risk of extinction, with just 350 to 500 individuals remaining.
Head keepers Jamie Baker and Charlotte Coventry stayed with Cynthia overnight to monitor the birth, ensuring everything went smoothly and assisting if needed.
After a gestation period of three months, three weeks and three days Cynthia gave birth to a boy and a girl, who remain unnamed.
Baker said: “At just a few days old, the piglets are already very mischievous, climbing over Cynthia when she is sleeping and chasing each other through the mud.
“At the moment the piglets are entirely dependent on their mother’s milk, feeding every hour before cuddling up to each other for a nap, the peace doesn’t last for long though.
“The piglets are soon sprinting across the piggery and playing in front of the zoos adoring visitors.”
The Oxford Sandy and Black is one of the oldest British pig breeds, existing for around 300 years.
The birth of the piglets is exciting news as the breed has twice reached near-extinction levels within its history.
Following the help of dedicated keepers the breed is now being managed responsibly but the numbers are still low.
It is believed that the breed originated from the Oxfordshire region at least two centuries ago.
The Oxford Sandy and Black pig is classified as at risk by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST).
Battersea Park Children’s Zoo support the conservation of this rare breed through the birth of the two piglets.
The zoo is asking the public to help them name the new born piglets, you can head over to their facebook page to cast your vote.
Featured image credit: Battersea Park Children’s Zoo