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Celebrating a 'pig-culiar' Lunar New Year at Melbourne Zoo

5 February 2019

Melbourne Zoo’s animals were out in force today (February 5) to celebrate Lunar New Year 2019, the Year of the Pig. 

Headlining the celebrations were the Zoo’s pig-like collared peccaries who walk like pigs, smell like pigs and look like large hairy pigs but which aren’t scientifically pigs.

Belonging to the Tayassuidae family, peccaries are in fact the New World's ecological equivalent of Old World pigs, known as Suidae. They are characterised by their dark, course hair and rounded pig-like snouts with spear-like canine teeth.

In the wild, they live in large family groups and are fearless in packs. Despite being dwarfed by some of their predators, these valiant animals have no hesitation, when in squadrons, to stand up to bigger beasts.

Joining the peccaries in the Luna New Year celebrations were some of Melbourne Zoo’s native Chinese animals.

The White-cheeked gibbons and the Binturong all joyfully tore into specially themed Lunar New Year boxes of enrichment to celebrate the day.

This enrichment plays an important role in animal care at Melbourne Zoo, enhancing the quality of animal welfare through environmental stimuli to trigger sensory and motor stimulation.

You can visit Melbourne Zoo’s peccaries and its native Chinese animals up-close and personal from 9am-5pm, 7 days a week.