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Zoo is high on the hog at arrival of 10 little piggies

VISITORS to Dublin Zoo weren't the only ones playing happy families yesterday.

Ten piglets and a Friesian cow were the centre of attention after becoming the newest arrivals of the new year.

Rosie the pig has been in mothering mode ever since giving birth to her second litter of 10 piglets last week. There's sure to be plenty of sibling rivalry now that she has five extra boisterous males and five females to contend with.

"The piglets are full of beans and can be seen running around chasing after each other in their pen. We are keeping a close eye on two little runts in the litter, just to make sure they are getting an equal share of the food. However, we are very happy so far, as each piglet is healthy and making good progress," Eddie O'Brien, team leader at the Family Farm said yesterday.

Bella, a Friesian cow, was also full of the joys of spring yesterday after giving birth to her second calf on Wednesday.

Jet black with a distinctive white star on his forehead, the youngster was suckling his mother within three hours of his birth.

Earlier this month, Dublin Zoo celebrated a historic milestone after surpassing one million visitors last year.

In total, the zoo welcomed 42 new arrivals in 2011, including a giraffe calf and two red panda cubs.

Among the new attractions that led to a surge in visitor numbers last year was the opening of the highly popular Gorilla Rainforest, which facilitated the unprecedented birth of two baby gorillas.

For Valentine's next month, there'll be plenty of love in the air with a weekend of special keeper talks on courtship, breeding and exotic romantic rituals.

Irish Independent