Endangered peccaries born at Potawatomi Zoo

Photo courtesy: Potawatomi Zoo Photo courtesy: Potawatomi Zoo

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Three endangered Chacoan peccaries were born at the Potawatomi Zoo on April 16, the Zoo announced Wednesday.

The three peclets, whose sex is still undetermined, were born to mom Pepa and dad Tapo.

This is the fifth litter of Chacoan Peccaries born at the Zoo since 2019.

Chacoan peccaries can breed all year long and have a gestation period of 151 days.

“Chacoan peccaries are endangered in their native habitat, the Gran Chaco region of South America, so we’re very excited to be a part of this animal’s Species Survival Plan,” says Josh Sisk, executive director of the Potawatomi Zoo. “Very little is known about the way these animals breed and raise their young, so we have the opportunity to add to the knowledge base and hopefully help this species someday recover in the wild.”

The breeding of this species was part of a recommendation by the Chacoan Peccary Species Survival Plan, a program that responsibly breeds animals for genetic diversity. Zoos that are part of the Chacoan Peccary SSP work with conservation organizations in Paraguay to create a population that can be released back into the wild.

Peccaries are often mistaken as pigs but are actually part of the Tayassuidae family. Peccaries have a different tooth and skeletal structure than pigs and have scent glands on their backsides that give off a milky, musky odor used to mark their territories.

Peccaries are native to a semi-arid area with little vegetation, so they eat different kinds of cacti. These animals remove the spines of the plants by rolling them on the ground with their snouts or pulling them off with their teeth.

They also forage on succulents for water, look for salt licks for important minerals, and sometimes eat seed pods, roots, and flowers. Their kidneys are able to break down acid from cacti and they have two-chambered stomachs that allow them to digest tough foods.

You can say hello to these new babies in their habitat near the Picnic Grove!

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