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Two pigs and a plastic bag may keep you busy

November 20, 2012

Our two wild boar Lala and Lolo escaped the other day. No worries, that has happened before. The pigs came running towards me like happy dogs and they followed me (or rather their food bucket) back to the pen. I walked around the pen and figured that since there was no hole they must have jumped over the fence.

I went to cut some bamboo poles but within minutes I saw happy pigs in the woodland again. We walked back for the second time and this time I did find a tiny hole in the fence. Some robust hair of wild boar showed this was their way out.

I plugged it using the bamboo poles and then I had breakfast with my  friend Zak who has stayed with me here at Dokmai Garden for about ten days. Before walking back to check on the pigs, I joked that I should call Zak if there was a problem, confident there would not. The pigs were gone! They sensed the weakness of the hole and simply used the power of their bodies to push through. This time they had run to the fruit orchard. I had no food with me but the pigs seemed still happy to see me so they followed me back for the third time. However, Lolo, the male, changed his mind when he saw the sun and walked back to the shady orchard with Zak in his footsteps, while Lala, the female and mother of twelve, followed me all the way back to the pen. Lolo refused to follow Zak, laid down and began behaving strangely, drooling.

Zak guarded Lala while I tried to fetch Lolo, but Lala got out (a fourth time) while Zak was watching. The two pigs united and  went to have a siesta under the lemongrass. Zak and I figured they were tired and stuffed with food so we left them, cared for the garden, made lunch and guided some Dokmai Garden guests who were quite excited to see the wild boar a few meters away without any fence.

When I told Kate about the busy morning she immediately sent two men to help us catch the escapees. They came earlier than Zak and I had planned, i.e. during the hottest time of the day, but never mind. When we came up to the pigs Lolo seemed ill, stretched out on the ground and shaking a bit. We realised he must have been drunk from eating the fermenting fruits under the starfruit trees. All fruits were gone and the pigs had been plowing the soil. Lolo usually do not share with his wife so I presume that is why he got sick.

Lala was easily brought back, but the staggering Lolo, drunk as a swine, walked slowly and in an erratic way. When Zak tried to block him, showing him the right way back home, Lolo got aggressive and raised his hair. Back in the pen he fell asleep under his roof, while the four humans worked in merciless sun strengthening the pen.

A busy day! In the late afternoon we opened beers and laughed at the incident. We started the irrigation and prepared for making dinner when suddenly water pressure dropped. Nothing wrong with the pump nor the electricity, and since pressure built up slowly, I suspected a blockage at the water inlet. Ketsanee promised some people would check it out in the morning. They arrived late next afternoon and began checking pumps and electricity, while I desperately tried to say they should first check the inlet. Since none of them could swim they simply left. Fearing a serious problem with the valve we cut the pipeline and pulled it up from the water reservoir. A plastic bag had wrapped itself around the inlet – a very simple explanation.

Lolo is not a little piglet anymore. He was only two months old and dressed in a striped pyjamas when he first came to us in October 2010. Now he has distinguished white moustaches and is a father of twelve.

Text & Photo: Eric Danell

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