Wild Pig, Peccary, and Hippo TAG

The suborder Suiformes includes two distinct extant families within the order Artiodactyla: the family Suidae, with 19 species of wild pigs that inhabit every continent except Australia, and the family Tayassuidae, with three species of peccaries ranging from North America to South America. Suiformes also formerly included the family Hippopotamidae, with two species found in Africa, and this AZA TAG continues to include hippos (even though they are now believed to align most closely with whales and dolphins).

The species represented by this TAG have adapted to a wide variety of habitats that include grasslands, tropical forests, woodlands, deserts and river systems. Of the 24 species in the three families, twelve (50%) of these species are either Threatened or Endangered. All twelve of these species (and many related subspecies) are in need of conservation attention, yet only six of them have active conservation support either through the efforts of local Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) or through zoological and NGO partnerships.

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The Wild Pig, Peccary, and Hippo TAG supports the work of the IUCN Specialist Groups for Wild Pigs, Peccaries, and Hippos (once covered under a single Specialist Group, but now split into separate entities). Just like with this TAG, however, the specialist groups have pooled their resources on a fantastic website that features species information, conservation programs, and an informative newsletter, Suiform Soundings (latest issue: February 2019).

AZA Wild Pig, Peccary, and Hippo TAG Mission Statement

To provide guidance and recommendations to AZA institutions regarding captive
management of wild pigs, peccaries and hippos in North America, and to facilitate

activities and programs that support global pig, peccary and hippo conservation.

 TAG Leadership

Martin Ramirez, Woodland Park Zoo: TAG Chair
Dawn Petefish, Peoria Zoo: Secretary

Steering Committee

RoxAnna Breitigan, The Living Desert
John Davis, Riverbanks Zoo
Joe Forys, Audubon Zoo
Dennis Meritt, DePaul University
Randy Rieches, San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Lisa Smith, Great Plains Zoo


Cora Singleton DVM, San Diego Zoo: Veterinary Advisor
Annie Newell-Fugate, Texas A&M: Reproductive Advisor
Catharine Wheaton, Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Endocrine Advisor
Jeff Holland, CCTU: Field Conservation and Husbandry Advisor
Ellen Dierenfeld: Nutrition Advisor
Dan Beetem: WCMC Liaison

 TAG Programs

River Hippo (Hippopotamus amphibius) - Yellow SSP, established 9/14/2008

  • Coordinator: John Davis, Riverbanks Zoo

  • Last published: October 2014

Pygmy Hippo (Choeropsis liberiensis) - Red SSP, established 12/31/1995

  • Coordinator: Christie Eddie, Henry Doorly Zoo

  • Last published: May 2014

Babirusa (Babyrousa celebensis) - Yellow SSP, established 3/28/1995

  • Coordinator: Joe Forys, Audubon Zoo

  • Last published: March 2015

Red River Hog (Potamochoerus porcus) - Yellow SSP, established 8/12/2001

  • Coordinator: Matt James, Zoo Miami

  • Last published: June 2014

Chacoan Peccary (Catagonus wagneri) - Yellow SSP, established 12/31/1983

  • Coordinator: Dennis Merritt, Potawatomi Zoo

  • Last published: June 2014

Collared Peccary (Pecari tajacu) - Program slated for Phase Out

  • Coordinator: Jim Haigwood, Los Angeles Zoo

  • Last published: November 2014

Warthog (Phacochoerus africanus) - Yellow SSP, established 2/13/1998

  • Coordinator: Lisa Smith, Great Plains Zoo

  • Last published: April 2015

Visayan warty pig (Sus cebifrons) - Yellow SSP, established 6/5/2003

  • Coordinator: Craig Miller , Jacksonville Zoo

  • Last published: December 2015

Eurasian wild boar (Sus scrofa) - No Program