Two Chacoan Peccaries Join DPZ

By KOLR10 News

Published 08/21 2013 07:15AM

Updated 08/21 2013 07:19AM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- You might think they're warthogs - but two of Dickerson Park Zoo's newest residents are something much more rare.

Melinda Arnold joins us now live from the Dickerson Park Zoo to tell us about the Chacoan Peccaries, an animal new to the zoo this summer.
Melinda:  They are from the Chacoa region of south America.  They are not warthogs and not pigs, they are peccaries.  They are in the same order as pigs, but not in the same animal family.

They have a snout like pigs do.  Use that snout to feed on cactus and roll the cactus around to break off the spines so they can eat the fleshy part.

They are vegetarians, primarily.  They occasionally eat small mammals, but here at the Zoo, they forage on the grasses and roots in their area.

Because they come from a dry area of South America, we've modified their yard with a lot of sand so they can root around in it and find a cool spot to lay.

By sunlight, they are up and around and are active during the day.  By evening, they bed down for the night.

Justin - Are they endangered?

Melinda - Yes, their numbers are in the few thousands in wild populations in a small geographic region.  They had previously been identified through fossil records, then in 1972, they were found living in the wild.

The two we have came from the Los Angeles Zoo earlier this summer, they are brothers - two males.  We have them in the South America area of the zoo.  We were looking to add a small mammals to our South America area.

 Upcoming Events at Dickerson Park Zoo:

Grandparents Day
Sunday, Sept. 8
Half Price Admission for Grandparents

Kids Fair
Saturday, Sept. 21
9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

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