Three Babirusa piglets were born at Chester Zoo in northern England. Photo: Chester Zoo, YouTube

Three babirusa piglets, the world’s rarest pigs, have been born at Chester Zoo in northern England, to the delight of conservationists and animal lovers.

The trio, born in late May, are now running and playing joyfully in the zoo’s babirusa habitat with their six-year-old mother named Kendari, according to a Xinhua report.

Due to the sensitive nature of the species, the mother pig has been caring for her newborns in a special behind-the-scenes breeding area over the past six weeks.

This is the first time that babirusa triplets have been born at the zoo. The chance of having triplets in babirusa births is reportedly just 4%.

And there are less than 5,000 Babirusa pigs on the island of Sulawesi in central Indonesia; their numbers keep declining due to pressure from people hunting them, plus loss of habitat.

“Babirusa are one of the of the rarest pig species on the planet. It’s an animal that’s extremely vulnerable to extinction and under huge pressure for its long-term survival,” said Tim Rowlands, Chester’s Curator of Mammals.

Chester Zoo, one of the world leaders in breeding the charismatic pigs, has been working with Indonesian conservationists and the Indonesian government to reverse the decline of the babirusa in its homeland, Rowlands said.