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It's a deer . . . It's a pig . . . It's a deer-pig!

Feb 15, 2011 9:46:00 AM - thestate.com
A strange-looking critter from Indonesia is the latest animal on display at Riverbanks Zoo.

The babirusa – Malaysian for "deer-pig" – is a long-legged cousin of a pig. This one, named Bertello, came from the Los Angeles Zoo in December and has been getting used to his new enclosure.

Babirusas are rare, native to just a few islands in Indonesia, the zoo said. Their long legs allow them to move through moist forests and reed thickets, and make them excellent swimmers. The zoo's other Indonesian denizens are the popular siamangs.

Babirusa habitat is shrinking, and they are overhunted. Bertello is part of a multi-zoo program to help the species survive. He is 1 1/2 years old and weighs about 70 pounds. He'll eventually grow to weigh three times that much. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Babirusa Species Survival Plan is looking for a female partner for breeding.

Bertello is in the former warthog exhibit by the African Bird Yard.

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