Babirusa Piglet Born at Disney's Animal Kingdom While Park Remains Closed
Disney animal care named the baby piglet Kiranah, which translates to "sunbeam" in Indonesian
A babirusa piglet just made history at Walt Disney's Animal Kingdom — simply by being born.
Dr. Mark Penning, vice president of animals, science and environment at Disney Parks, announced Thursday that a babirusa piglet was born at Animal Kingdom for the first time ever.
The baby piglet, named Kiranah, which translates to "sunbeam” in Indonesian, is healthy and bonding with mom inside their den at the park.
Penning called the birth a "success story" given babirusa pigs' classification as an endangered species. He said the Disney animal care experts had spent the past 15 years trying to "crack the code" of their survival.
And history was made, thanks to parents Betty and Mentari, who were chosen to breed through the Species Survival Plan (SSP) overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
"The piglet is making an important contribution toward the worldwide conservation and understanding of the species, which will help ensure a future generation for these vulnerable animals," Penning said.
Babirusa piglets are known for their unique snots and tusks that can grow up to 17 inches long. They are a part of the hog family and are native to the swamps and rainforests of the Indonesian Islands.
Close relatives of the babirusa also live at Animal Kingdom, such as the warthogs of the Kilimanjaro Safaris and the KuneKune pigs at Affection Section.
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While Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida has been closed since mid-March due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, a new proposal presented to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force on Wednesday cited plans to reopen the park on July 11.
Per the detailed plans, which require sign off from Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings before they can be approved by Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis, the Magic Kingdom, and Animal Kingdom parks will open on July 11, while Epcot and Hollywood Studios will open July 15.
The process will begin with soft opening preview days. This will "allow us to launch, learn, and adjust along the way," according to Jim McPhee, Senior Vice President of Operations.
Attendance will also be capped, and as previously recommended by the task force, extensive new safety measures will also be in effect.
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