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Breeds of Livestock, Department of Animal Science

Breeds of Livestock - Arapawa Island Swine

Breeds of Livestock - Arapawa Island Swine

Arapawa Island

pig1.jpgThe exact origin of the feral pigs of Arapawa Island in the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand, is not known, and has given rise to much speculation. It has been suggested that they are descendants of animals released in the Marlborough Sounds area by James Cook in 1773 and 1777. A far more likely explanation is that they were introduced by whalers and early farmers on Arapawa Island during the middle of the nineteenth century, as no feral livestock was seen on Arapawa Island by visitors who described the island in some detail in the late 1830s. The breed has remained pure and roamed parts of the island every since. The wild pigs have stories of ferocity, but first hand encounters reveal they have more of a "leave us alone and we'll leave you alone" attitude towards humans.  They are similar to the original Oxford Sandy-and-Black or the unimproved Berkshires and Tamworths.
Several attempts were made over the years to catch some of the pigs, but until the late 1990s there were only a few adults on the mainland of New Zealand, and they were critically endangered on Arapawa Island itself. Then in 1998 four healthy piglets were recovered from the Island and these have been successfully bred from, although numbers over-all are still critical. Arapawa pigs are somewhat larger than some other New Zealand feral pigs and many are an attractive tan with black patches. However, other colors also occur, including pure black.



Porter, Valerie, 1993, Pigs - A Handbook to the Breeds of the World, Comstock Publishing Associates, Ithaca, New York, pp 256
Betty Rowe, Picton, New Zealand
Betty Rowe, Picton, New Zealand



Added February 24, 1997


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