An Army Of Diseased, Wild Pigs Is Pillaging Puerto Rico. Here’s Why That’s Bad.

by Tim K

Here’s some bittersweet news that’ll throw you for a loop: According to NBC News, thousands upon thousands of wild Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs are making their way across Puerto Rico, eating and reproducing to their little pink hearts’ desire. But for as awesome as that sounds, it’s actually taking its toll on the U.S. territory’s residents.

Countless locals have reported droves of feral pigs waddling up and down their streets, gnawing at their gardens, and leaving remarkably long trails of urine and excrement all over the island, but unfortunately, a lot of those reports were complaints. Somewhere along the line, these descendants of former pet pigs have begun making for more headaches than smiles, and since the swine are now reproducing at an alarmingly fast rate, it’s beginning to seem near-impossible to stop them.  

Aside from the sheer number of pigs, a major setback in managing the population is that the animals are so riddled with disease that they can’t be eaten. In the latest effort to alleviate the problem, Puerto Rico recruited crews from Georgia, Alabama, and Florida to help remove the pigs and take them elsewhere.

But, because these huge, awesome pigs are so numerous and scattered all over, officials aren’t optimistic about the plan:  

“It was out of control,” said Gustavo Olivieri, Caribbean district assistant supervisor for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service regarding the masses of pigs outside San Juan. “We realized there were way more animals than we anticipated.”

Damn. While it’s definitely cool that these pigs somehow found their way to a beach – beautiful, sunny Puerto Rico no less, all just running around in the sun, goofing in the ocean, digging holes in the sand – it sucks that it’s gotten to the point where the locals and the pigs are butting heads.

If only the pigs and the humans could figure out some sort of compromise, so that the pigs could be free to do their sweet-ass pigs-in-the-sun thing, but the humans didn’t get so annoyed. Maybe if the humans let the pigs inside their houses once in a while, they’d be less ornery? Or if not their houses, maybe at least into common spaces, like the mall? Maybe the government could designate parts of the beaches specifically for the pigs where humans aren’t allowed to go? It definitely doesn’t have to be one of those ideas, they’re just meant to get the wheels turning.

In any event, here’s to hoping that both the humans and the pigs can find a way to appreciate that the other side is just trying to do their best, and that life is short. If everyone can start there, this whole mess should be sorted out sooner than later.