The San Diego Zoo was thrilled to receive our first pair of warthogs in 1937. They came from the Toronto Zoo in Canada in exchange for two young nilgai (a type of antelope). They were described at the time as “exceptionally clean, well-bred fellows.” More warthogs were added over the years. In the early 1990s, artists working on Disney’s animated movie The Lion King visited the Zoo to sketch and study our male warthog, Zeul. He was, at least for their purposes, quite a beautiful representative for the central character of Pumbaa!
Today, you can admire warthogs at both the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The Safari Park even has a warthog named Bubba who serves as an animal ambassador. He travels to the local television stations and goes for walks around the Park. He also participates in animal presentations there. Bubba has helped potential grooms with their "proposals," delivering the ring to the bride-to-be. He loves to wallow in his mud bath and continues to be the Fabio of the warthog world—very handsome!