The World’s Loneliest Pig

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November 8, 2016
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November 9, 2016

The World’s Loneliest Pig

Two Afghan zookeepers watch as Afghanistan's only known pig, Khanzir, eats at the Kabul Zoo November 2, 2009. The Afghan government ordered closure of all educational institutions for a period of three weeks due to the dramatic rise of H1N1 flu cases and after its first death from the virus last week. The pig, a curiosity in Muslim Afghanistan where pork and pig products are illegal because they are considered irreligious, was quarantined in July 2009 because visitors to the zoo were worried it could spread the H1N1 flu strain. The pig was released out of quarantine on July 4. REUTERS/Oleg Popov (AFGHANISTAN ANIMALS HEALTH SOCIETY IMAGES OF THE DAY)

There is only one pig in all of Afghanistan and his name is Khanzir

Khanzir, whose name literally translates into pig in Pashto, is the only pig in Afghanistan. He’s a celebrity who spends his days grazing in the sun and people come from afar to have a look at him.

The reason for his solitary status is the fact that in Islamic nations, eating pork is haram. So it is only natural that no one farms or rears pigs in a country whose religious texts even forbid touching the animal. Add to the fact, the mostly mountainous topography of the country is no home for pigs.

“By and large, most Afghans have never seen a pig in their life,” said Aziz Gul Saqib, director of the Kabul Zoo. According to the Washington Post,14-year-old Khanzir lives in an enclosure with a pond. There is also a shelter for him on days when he is feeling a bit anti-social.

Khanzir was not always alone, he was gifted as a piglet to the zoo by China in 2002, and there was also a female pig with him. They had a litter of piglets, but in 2006 an accident tore the family apart, when a brown bear got into the pigs enclosure and killed the piglets.

The Zoo authorities did rescue Khanzir and his mate, but she was badly hurt and died. So here is Khanzir, the loneliest and only one of a kind in a faraway land.

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