Video: hand reared piglets at Whipsnade Zoo
Three wild boar piglets are being hand reared by zoo keepers - with the help of a cuddly toy sheep.
The four week old sisters - Dotty, Hettie and Gertie - were taken into the care of keepers at Whipsnade Zoo when they were just a few days old after their mum had an extra large litter and was unable to give them the attention they needed.
Keeper Jo Shirley, who has taken on the role of mummy pig, looks after the tiny triplets day and night, feeding them around the clock.
She said: “Like typical sisters they are very different. Dotty is the most laid back out of the three, whereas Hettie is very mischievous and Gertie just wants to play all the time.
“We’ve built them a special enclosure from straw bales, complete with heat lamps, blankets, and a toy sheep which is left for them to snuggle up to whenever I’m not around.
“Usually the piglets would cuddle up to their mum, so the sheep is very comforting for them - although they’re so cute, one of us is always popping in to say hello.”
The trio will be looked after by Jo for the next few weeks before going to live on the zoo’s children’s farm, home to hand reared wallabies, llamas, silky chickens, goats and donkeys.