The three newborn female piglets, who haven’t been named yet, are enjoying bonding time with their mother before meeting their father.

By Emily Schroeder
April 30, 2021
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three warthog piglets with mother
Credit: Courtesy of Zoo Atlanta

Zoo Atlanta kicked off a quintessential spring with new life in the African Savanna. Earlier this month, seven-year-old Eleanor and two-year-old Hamlet welcomed three adorable female piglets. A major celebration for Eleanor (her first offspring), zoo staff is also celebrating since this is the first birth in the facility's African Savanna habitat since it opened in late summer 2019. 

The exhibit is also home to elephants, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, meerkats, and southern white rhino. As for their newest residents, the zoo's director of communications, Rachel Davis, says that the mama warthog Eleanor "is exhibiting appropriate maternal behavior and is a protective mother." The piglets, who are not on display to visitors just yet, will continue to bond with their mother behind the scenes.  

New mom Eleanor is a Zoo Atlanta native, born back in 2014 to late parents Shirley and Vern (quite the Leave It to Beaver family!). Eleanor and her warthog siblings were the last to be born at the zoo until Eleanor's new litter arrived in early April. Her handsome baby daddy, Hamlet, was brought to the zoo in October of 2020 to be her companion. Typically in the wild, males are not as social as female warthogs and prefer to live alone, which has us wondering if this explains why the happy-go-lucky Pumbaa lived a bachelor life with his buddy Timon in The Lion King? All we can say is, "Hakuna Matata!"

In the wild, warthog populations are currently widespread but, as the statement released by Zoo Atlanta points out, "are in decline as a result of drought, desertification, and human-caused habitat loss and habitat fragmentation." Thanks to the careful planning on behalf of zookeepers and conservation staff, animal lovers can observe the new warthog family in their habitat and bring awareness to this wild member of the pig family.  

"We are thrilled to welcome warthog piglets to Eleanor and Hamlet and to our African Savanna," Jennifer Mickelberg, PhD, Vice President of Collections and Conservation said. "The African Savanna highlights the interconnectedness of all life. We can't think of a better way to celebrate that connection than with new life."