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Monday, 4 March 2013

"W" is for Warthog

Given their remarkable popularity with nearly all of our visitors, W could really only be for… Warthog!

There are two species of Warthog in Africa, and both are listed by the IUCN as being of "Least Concern."  The Desert Warthog is found in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, while the Common Warthog (the ones at CCF) are much more widespread, present in nearly 40 countries (including the three that are home to Desert Warthogs), from Senegal in the East, Eritrea in the NE, down to the northern regions of South Africa.

Although sometimes hunted for meat, or as a trophy, warthog populations are in no way threatened by man.  They are however very water-dependent and as a result are subject to local extinctions in drought conditions. 

Family groupings of warthogs can be very large, with one generation of offspring often involved in raising the next generation.  Here at CCF it is common to see 6-7 piglets following a single mum, with 2-3 sub-adults close by.  A camera trap at one of our busier waterholes typically takes over 1200 pictures every day featuring nothing but warthogs, and we can often count over 30 individuals in a single shot!

In addition to needing water to drink, warthogs are also commonly found wallowing in the mud at the edge of waterholes to cool down.  They are rarely preyed upon by smaller carnivores, such as cheetahs, since their tusks make a formidable weapon, and mothers protect their young extremely well. Leopards will sometimes make off with a piglet, but warthogs are really only seriously preyed upon by lions or spotted hyena. 

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