The red river hog piglet is the lone survivor of mama hog Artemis’s first litter and is also the first birth of its kind at the Franklin Park Zoo.

Many animal lovers associate springtime with baby animal births, but summer brought a special new addition to the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston. On July 31, the zoo's red river hog named Artemis gave birth to a litter of three piglets. Sadly, only one of the three babies survived. But the remaining baby piglet made her exhibit debut on August 14, no doubt a cause for celebration. 

Baby animals are adorable on their own, but this piglet is especially endearing thanks to the gorgeous watermelon pattern on her fresh baby coat. 

Despite the unfortunate passing of her two siblings, Franklin Park Zoo reports that the baby piglet is presently healthy and nursing from her mother. A press release from the zoo states that the tiny female is already showing an interest in mom's diet of grasses, roots, and bulbs, though zoo staff says she's not quite ready for solid food just yet. 

red river hog piglet with his mother
Credit: Courtesy of Zoo New England

"We're really thrilled about this birth, which is a first for this species here at Franklin Park Zoo," Assistant Curator Christine Bartos says in a statement. "Artemis is doing great and being a very attentive mother."

Beyond being the zoo's first red river hog birth, the baby is also Artemis's first child. It's especially exciting news given the zoo's investment in the longevity of the species, which can be found across west and central Africa in their native habitat.

Zoo New England, which includes both the Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo in nearby Stoneham, Mass., is a partner in the Red River Hog Species Survival Plan, an inter-zoo program coordinated through the national Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Species Survival Plans (also known as SSPs) function to protect endangered or threatened species in zoos and aquariums while also aiding their conservation in the wild

The Red River Hog SSP recommended a pairing between Artemis and fellow hog Tamu, making the piglet's birth a special success. 

"Now that the little one has made her exhibit debut, it's a wonderful opportunity for guests to observe her exploring with mom," Bartos says. 

If you're local to the Boston area, visitors can view the adorable piglet and mama Artemis at Franklin Park Zoo every day except Sundays. If you're lucky to get close enough, you can even see the watermelon pattern on the piglet's hide!