Monday, December 21, 2015

A Wild Pig in Germany Befriended a Herd of Cows

A wild boar is a celebrity in Germany after joining a small herd of cows on a farm near Hamburg.


Farmer Dirk Reese has watched the bristly interloper—who he calls Banana—integrate into the herd over the last couple of months. The cows seem unbothered by the new addition, and the boar acts right at home among them.

“One thing we’ve learned about pigs [both wild and domestic] is that they are very socially complex,” says Lori Marino, executive director of the Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy in Utah.

“In the wild they live in a social group—a male will be with several females, their babies, and immature males. And in captivity we’ve seen time and again that housing them alone makes them very unhappy. When you put them together, they get the stimulation they need and just blossom.”

Pigs are also every bit as intelligent as dogs, she says.
“We don’t know why this [boar] is alone, but clearly it left the forest and latched on to whomever it could find,” she says. “Pigs are smart; this one knew what it was doing.”

Cows, also very social, may be brighter bulbs than once thought, too, she says.

“There’s more going on there than you’d think; they’re not just a bunch of big animals with their heads down, chewing grass.” They develop friendships, hold grudges, and have excellent memories, for example.

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