Tag Archives: hog

Biodiversity challenge – Hairy babirusa

That’s why they call me swine

When I was young they christened me the babirusa kid,
But once I started sprouting tusks, the jokers made a bid
To change it ’round to ‘Antler Face’; I was ‘Spikehead’ for a while,
Then ‘Ugly Mug’ and ‘Tooth Medusa’ used to make ’em smile;
And then, thanks to the scientists, I learned another term
When someone shouted: ‘Fellas, hey! A porcine pachyderm!’
But I don’t give a fig. I’m an extraordinary pig:

Well, just because my teeth are curly,
And just because my frame is burly;
Just because I always keep them guessing,
Wear my genes like a pig of means
(He’s visually unprepossessing);
Just because I’m happy wrinkled,
Drink mineral water, never wine;
Just because my body’s hairy,
– Visage slightly scary,
That’s why they call me swine.

(With thanks to Cecil Mack)

© Tim Knight and timknightwriter, 2014

Biodiversity challenge – Sulawesi babirusa

Just because my teeth are curly
Sulawesi babirusa by Becky Richardson Senisse

Sulawesi babirusa by Becky Richardson Senisse

Curious creatures,
Ferocious features:
The two tusketeers,
Part pig, part deer.
Long in the tooth,
Last flush of youth.
Canine-clad rivals,
The early arrivals,
Eager for kicks
And a sodium fix.
First the refuelling,
Then ritual duelling.

babirusa_virginia_potter

Sulawesi babirusa, Oil on panel by Virginia Potter

Porcine posing,
It won’t be pretty;
Curly burly
In salt lick city.
Two legs good
For a stand-up fight;
Boxing babirusas,
A wondrous sight.
Hot rock hog trot,
Once round the wallow.
Swine lake ballet,
Hard to swallow.

You’re not going crazy,
Pigs dance in Sulawesi.

© Tim Knight and timknightwriter,
2014

Species profile: Sulawesi babirusa

IUCN Red List Category: Vulnerable

This remarkable pig is confined to undisturbed rainforest on Sulawesi, Indonesia’s fourth largest island. Babirusa literally means ‘pig deer’. The curly tusks sported by the males are the upper canine teeth, which grow upwards out of the snout. One of the babirusa’s last remaining strongholds is the Nantu Wildllife Sanctuary, which has a natural salt lick where these social pigs often gather to chew the sodium-rich volcanic rock and drink from the hot springs. The males fight by rearing up on their hind legs and ‘dancing’. The babirusa and its rainforest habitat are under severe threat. Forest clearance and illegal poaching for meat have reduced the population to an estimated 5,000 individuals. Logging activity is opening up areas previously inaccessible to hunters, increasing the pressure on this charismatic species.

Biodiversity challenge – White-lipped peccary

Keeper secret
White-lipped peccary by Ellen Hobgood

White-lipped peccary by Ellen Hobgood www.ellenhobgoodgallery.com

I know it was wrong
To leave the white-lipped
Peccaries in a holding pen
With the armadillo
For so long.
And it’s true
It took me ages
To clean out their cages.
But surely you
Can remain tight-lipped
About a peccadillo
Or two?

© Tim Knight and timknightwriter, 2014.

Species profile: White-lipped peccary

IUCN Red List Category: Vulnerable

The white-lipped peccary occurs from southern Mexico to northern Argentina, often in herds over 100 strong, and is an important indicator of healthy forests and ecosystems. It is a key prey species for big cats, and plays a vital role in neotropical forests as a predator and disperser of seeds. White-lipped peccary numbers have fallen by almost 30% within the past two decades. Habitat loss, illegal hunting and disease pose major threats to the species, which has also suffered from sudden unexplained population crashes and local extinctions in several areas.