THE Marina Baja has a pig of a problem. Pot-bellied Vietnam pigs have mated with native wild boar and are overrunning inland mountain areas like Tarbena.
They have also been spotted in Altea, La Nucia and Callosa, Jose Gabriel Fernandez told local Spanish press.
Hollywood films featuring cute mini-pigs are partly to blame, the rural ranger and forestry expert said, but unscrupulous dealers cashed-in on the demand. In many cases they sold full-sized pot-bellied Vietnamese pigs to buyers who were unaware that they would eventually weigh 100 kilos.
Overwhelmed owners took the easiest way out by setting them loose, Fernandez said, and the abandoned pigs are now mating with wild boar. Their offspring are proliferating because pot-bellied pigs have bigger litters and come into season each month, compared with a boar’s once or twice a year. Unlike boar which tend to eat cereal crops and only at night, the hybrids eat anything throughout the day and are less afraid of human beings.
The regional government’s Environment department is now allowing hunting associations to cull the hybrids, to protect the genetically-pure local board, Fernandez explained.