Meet the four little pigs

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By Betsy Gazo

Kaleidoscope

Saturday, March 28, 2015


I BRING you good tidings! Julio and Olivia just had two wee ones, a girl and a boy, last March 18. And more good tidings… two days later, Julio and Amor had two boys of their own. Julio has been very frisky and busy with the ladies. Very good, Julio! You just added to the captive population of Visayan warty pigs in Negros.

Dr. Joanne Mae Justo, DVM, of the Biodiversity Conservation Centre (BCC) said, “These births are an important addition to the conservation-breeding program of this critically endangered species.”

Negros and Panay islands still have lowland forest fragments enabling these pigs to survive here. These species are no longer in existence in Masbate, Guimaras and Cebu because of loss of habitat and hunting practices that led to the warty pigs’ extinction.

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The BCC at the Negros Forest Ecological Foundation, Inc. (NFEFI) struggles to protect our endemic animal species in order to ensure their long-term survival not only through breeding but also by preparing sites for the re-introduction of the species.

Just looking at Olivia’s little one playfully making a pest of himself around her snout, her neck, or tummy while Olivia is serenely lying on her side nursing the other piglet reminds me that animals are like people. They have families, they play, they nurse, they feel affectionate, protective, jealous and angry.
When Amor gave birth to her two piglets, the center had to observe her behavior. Could she get along with Julio? If Julio had been annoyed, he should be taken away from her side or he might eat the babies, and Amor, smaller in size, might not be able to defend and protect the two little pigs.

The piglets are born with dark stripes running down the length of their backs. These stripes will disappear before their first birthday. These are one of nature’s ways in protecting them because the stripes serve as camouflage while the babies are still nurtured among the leaves that serve as their nest. Nature always does its best to protect what it has, yet, it needs a lot of help from human beings, too, considering that man could be nature’s biggest enemy.

Would you like to adopt an animal at the BCC? You will have your own adoption certificate but, no, you can’t take home your new baby. For P1,000 a month ($22) or P12,000 a year ($268) you can be a significant factor in the survival of the threatened species of Negros.

In return for your support, Dr. Justo said, “The NFEFI-BCC will provide you with an adoption certificate, fact sheet and photo of your adopted animal species, quarterly updating through email on how your animal is doing, a free pass to the Center every time you visit, 20 visitor passes and acknowledgment at the Center and at our website.”

And just to lift your spirits a bit higher, there’s a newly hatched male tariktik hornbill at the center. Congratulations to the new parents Supot and Sagip! May your tribe and all our endemic animal species increase!

To visit the NFEFI, find the gate beside the Old Provincial Capitol Building. That gate would have a huge tarpaulin of photos of our endemic animals including the Visayan Warty Pig, the Tariktik Hornbill, the Bleeding Heart Pigeon, and the Visayan Spotted Deer. Or call 4339234. Entrance fees are P20 for adults, and P10 for kids.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 28, 2015.

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