Pack of Paraguayan Peccaries at L.A. Zoo - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Pack of Paraguayan Peccaries at L.A. Zoo

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 (FOX11/CNS) - A whole family of rare Paraguayan peccaries are
pitching in to help raise triplets born at the Los Angeles Zoo, an animal
keeper said today.

The triplets came into the world June 3 and are the first offspring of
the mother and father peccaries at the zoo.

"You have mom, aunty and grandma and dad and uncles -- everyone is on
board. It's a whole family unit. It's very cute," said Jessica Moran, an
animal keeper at the L.A. Zoo.

Peccaries were once thought to be extinct and bear a striking
resemblance to warthogs, though they are not part of the same family.

"It's really amazing to find an animal we thought we had lost is still
with us and we can try to recover that species," Moran said.

The animals, found mostly in Paraguay and Bolivia, have bushy coats and
small feet that they use to roam through thorny terrain. Their pig-like snouts
are good for digging up fruit and de-spining the cacti that are part of their
diet.

The species is considered critically endangered, with a known population
of 3,500 peccaries in the world. Scientists knew of their existence only
through fossils prior to 1972, when live peccaries were discovered in Chaco,
Paraguay.

Their habitat is endangered by ranchers, and peccaries are still hunted,
according to Moran.

The Los Angeles Zoo works with the Chaco Center for the Conservation and
Research to preserve the rare species, which has seen its habitat destroyed
by deforestation to make way for cattle ranching, oil exploration and road
construction.

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