Residents of one Malaysian island have a rather unusual problem on their hands – dozens of wild boar are invading Pulau Besar and ravaging their crops. Then, departing for the mainland and other coastal areas.
But bizarrely, the intruders are believed to have come from Sumatra, Indonesia. This is a journey that would require crossing tens of kilometers of water.
Malaysia and Indonesia are separated by the Malacca Strait, a large stretch of water that is 65 kilometers (40 miles) at its narrowest – i.e. a length equivalent to 6.5 Olympic marathon swimming races. And yet, the leading theory, according to local reports, is that the wild boar swam there. It's an impressive accomplishment, even for a species as comfortable in water and adept at swimming as the wild pig.
The island's fishers tell stories of "snouts in the dark" spotted in the coastal waters each night. However, as the Guardian reports, there is also the chance that they snuck aboard shipping vessels and arrived on the island as stowaways. Regardless of how they got there, the uninvited guests have caused a lot of headache.
"The seabo(a)rne invasion of wild boars leaves us in despair as the animal population is increasing," said Norhizam Hassan Baktee, chairman of the Malacca agriculture committee, local media reports.
"The mystical island of Pulau Besar here has witnessed widespread damage from the ‘migration' of dozens of these wild boars, including piglets."
The agriculture committee has aired concerns that the swine may soon outnumber people on this sparsely populated isle. The Malacca's department of wildlife has said staff will be sent to shoot the animals, according to local reports.
As Billy Higginbotham of Texas A&M University told National Geographic, pigs will swim in search of better pastures or food stock and to escape danger. The Bahama's swimming pigs are famous, there are many a video of wild boar swimming close to the Italian coast, and even a story of one adventurous soal that traveled 11 kilometers (7 miles) from France to Alderney in the Channel Islands, UK.
However, whether they would manage to cross the 65 kilometers plus it would require to journey from Sumatra to Pulau Besar is another matter.