2008 - Volume #32, Issue #2, Page #06[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Bornean Bearded Pigs Find Home In Tennessee
"They demolished it in a week," says Jon Conley. "As Dad says, ĉOnly steel and concrete keep them in.' "
Wild swine are known for rooting - wood and ordinary fences are no match - but Conley is now set up for them and pleased to own a rare, private collection of the endangered breed from Borneo.
With whiskers as long as 7 in. on their snouts and chins, and 6-ft. long torsos, Bornean Bearded pigs can be intimidating. They're also intriguing, Conley says, because they're the only swine breed in the wild that migrates for food. They're athletic, and can jump great lengths and climb tall walls.
Conley's pigs originated from the San Diego Zoo. "They're just extremely rare," he says, and there's concern they may not survive in their native lands due to logging, hunting and less fruits for food.
Their survival may depend on people like Conley and his family. The breed arrived in the U.S. in 1994; only 30 Bornean pigs are in captivity. With small litters of two to four pigs and the challenge of breeding them in captivity, increasing their numbers takes time.
Conley and other family members own and operate Tennessee Safari Park, a private zoo with more than 60 species from zebras and giraffes to tropical birds and wild swine. They also raise buffalo, pigs and other animals on their Century Farm.
The wild swine breeds require similar fencing to wild cats, Conley says. He uses 8-ft. high tensile wire fences and lays 4-ft. tall page wire on the ground next to the fences to deter rooting. Though Tennessee has a moderate climate, Borneans also require shelter - concrete floors with steel walls work well. The pigs eat grass, grain and old produce such as bananas and other fruits.
In addition to Borneans, Conley says his family has the only private collection of African Bush Hogs, plus they have light-colored Javelinas, Bzigot European Boars and Wart Hogs. The Conleys also raise heritage breeds such as Berkshire and Tamworth pigs. Conley hopes to add the Chinese Meishan breed soon.
"Borneans are highly sought after by zoos, making it one of their top five highlighted animals," Conley says. "With only a few private collections of these animals, it will certainly make for a highly sought-after species in the elite collections."
Bornean Bearded pigs start at $5,500 for weaned 3-month-old pigs.
Conley welcomes questions from people interested in exotic animals.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jon Wesley Conley, 637 Conley Rd., Alamo, Tenn. 38001 (ph 731 343-5180; jwconley email@example.com; www.tennesseesafari park.com).
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