Battersea Park Children's Zoo Welcomes Rare Piglets, Boosting Conservation Efforts

26th Jun 2024

Battersea Park Children's Zoo is thrilled to announce the birth of a large, healthy litter of Oxford Sandy and Black piglets, a significant contribution to the conservation of this endangered native breed. Ruth, one of the zoo's resident sows, gave birth on June 19th, delighting zookeepers and visitors alike.

Oxford Sandy and Black pigs are one of the UK's rarest and oldest breeds, with between 350 - 500 individuals remaining. Each birth is crucial to the breed's survival and the preservation of the UK's rich agricultural heritage.

Ruth, who shares a family connection with pigs on Jeremy Clarkson's farm, is part of a carefully managed breeding programme that prioritises genetic diversity and the preservation of breeding standards.

"We are incredibly proud of Ruth and the successful birth of her piglets," said Jamie Baker, Zoo Manager at Battersea Park Children's Zoo. "Every piglet born is a step forward in securing the future of this remarkable breed."

The piglets will remain under Ruth's expert care until they are weaned at the end of the summer. They will then be placed in new homes, where they are hoped to be part of the breeding programme themselves and contribute to the ongoing conservation of their breed. Ruth will then enjoy the winter months with her close companion, Winny, at the zoo.

"The conservation of native breeds like the Oxford Sandy and Black pig is crucial for maintaining genetic diversity and promoting sustainable farming practices," added Jamie. "We hope that these adorable piglets will inspire a greater appreciation for the importance of preserving rare breeds."

Ruth's boar-friend and the father of this litter is Elton, who she spent six weeks with before returning to the zoo. Their union was orchestrated by the studbook, a meticulously maintained record that acts as a matchmaking service for these rare pigs. Another romantic getaway for Ruth and Elton may be on the horizon.

Battersea Park Children’s Zoo is proud to work with Tom's Farm, the Oxford Sandy & Black Pig Society and Rare Breeds Survival Trust, in a collaborative effort to promote and conserve this native breed. Today, 80% of native farm breeds are at risk of extinction.

This success story emphasises the vital role that Battersea Park Children's Zoo plays in safeguarding endangered species and educating the public about the importance of conservation.Through its breeding programme and educational initiatives, the zoo hopes to inspire a new generation of conservationists dedicated to protecting the UK's unique biodiversity.

For more information about Battersea Park Children's Zoo and its commitment to conservation, please visit

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