Visitors go ‘Potty’ for new piglet Harry
Wednesday 2 July 2008
A new piglet is quite literally hogging the limelight after becoming the first warthog to be born at ZSL London Zoo.
Keepers have named the new baby Harry in a tribute to JK Rowling’s young wizard Harry Potter because Hogwarts is nearly warthog spelt backwards.
Harry, who was born five weeks ago to mother, Azizla, and father, Little Vern, is now part of the Zoo’s first ever warthog family, leaving visitors quite literally ‘spellbound’.
The piglet isn’t the first Potter to grace the Zoo grounds; in 2000 the makers of the film filmed the Burmese python scene for the 2001 film Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. A plaque inside the Zoo's Reptile House commemorates the event.
Visitors to the Zoo’s Into Africa exhibit can come and see Harry being fed vegetables three times a day and sometimes playing ‘piggy in the middle’ sleeping in between his parents.
Senior Keeper of Mammal’s North, Gerald Asher, said: “Azizla is very protective and motherly of Harry, at first Little Vern couldn’t get near, but now they both take turns to be with him. According to our records Harry is the first warthog baby born at the Zoo – so he is a very special piglet.”
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Notes to editors
The warthog or common warthog (Phacochoerus africanus, "African Lens-Pig") is a wild member of the pig family that lives in Africa. The common name comes from the four large wart-like tusks found on the head of the warthog, which serve the purpose of defence when males fight. They are the only widely recognised species in their genus, though some authors divide them into two species. On that classification, P. africanus is the common (or northern) warthog and P. aethiopicus is the desert warthog, also known as the Cape or Somali warthog.
Founded in 1826, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity: our key role is the conservation of animals and their habitats. The Society runs ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, carries out scientific research in the Institute of Zoology and is actively involved in field conservation in other countries worldwide