Monday, February 1, 2010

Like a Pig in Paradise


Only rarely do little piggies (Polynesian boars) become beloved pets and get to attend surfing events, like this little guy at Kauai's Pinetrees Beach in Hanalei. More often they attend special events like a luau, where they are the guest of honor, albeit wrapped in leaves and buried in coals.

The boars are not native to the islands, but were brought here in sailing vessels, both those of the migrating Polnesians and later the European trading ships. Cows, chickens, and goats were often fellow passengers.

Over the years, many boars and goats escaped their pens and people's dinner plates and now root around in the lush, steep slopes of the mountains on all Hawaiian Islands. Since these places are also sources for human water supplies, hunting is encouraged by the State Department of Land and Natural Resources. These hunting grounds, many beginning at the cul-de-sacs of residential neighborhoods on Oahu, have proven to favor the pigs. Even hunting dogs get lost in plant-choked, rumpled topography, and populations of the wild animals are stable.