Earthquake-surviving hog waddles back into the limelight

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A visitor takes a photo of the boar in the museum in Sichuan province. Photo: China News Service via DFIC

A pig which made headlines around the world when it was pulled alive from the rubble of an earthquake in Sichuan after 36 days is now the star attraction at a museum in the province.

The boar that otherwise would have been butchered and eaten in China’s western province of Sichuan 10 years ago is now well-pampered and a feature exhibit at a museum in the province.

The hog made headlines when it was found by a team of rescuers trapped beneath rubble, still alive, 36 days after Sichuan was shattered by the 8.0 Ms Wenchuan earthquake on May 12, 2008.

News of the pig’s unbelievable survival against all the odds went viral as the nation was grieving over the loss of lives.

The pig’s owner told reporters the boar had two narrow escapes – only two days before the quake he planned to slaughter it but couldn’t find the butcher he used to hire. Also, the charcoal and stacks of firewood near the piggery formed a shelter for the boar during the quake, even though the entire pig farm was buried in rubble.

When the story broke the pig became known as “Sichuan’s doughty boar” and reportedly weighed a mere 50 kilograms when found. He was not only spared from being slaughtered, but sold to a businessman collecting items for his earthquake museum.

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‘Sichuan’s doughty boar’ now lives in comfort with plenty to eat. Photo: Beijing News

Ten years on, the boar is now at the ripe old age of 11 – the equivalent of 80 for humans – and obesity is the largest threat to its health. It’s been making a pig of itself, literally, on the plentiful food at the museum for years.

Visitors still flock to the museum close to the provincial capital of Chengdu to see the boar, which has long been used to being surrounded by cameras. On the 10th anniversary of the quake, the boar is back in the media limelight.

The museum owner now faces criticism for charging admission fees and profiting from the disaster, but told Beijing News that the boar was lucky it didn’t have any of the post-disaster trauma that still haunts numerous survivors. He said he’s glad the boar can spend the rest of his life in comfort and in the museum’s care.

 

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