Matilda and her piglets have been saved from the slaughter thanks to the animal charity workers who set up a campaign to rescue them.
Pregnant Matilda escaped from the pig farm to give birth to her ten piglets. The brave pig burrowed a hole under the electric fence. A few weeks later, while she was feeding her babies in the woods near Ollerton, Nottinghamshire, she was discovered by a woman who walked her dog.
Anna Aston was amazed when she saw the pigs family. "I knew they weren't wild boar; they just looked like ordinary pigs," she said. "I was thinking, 'This isn't right'. You just don't get them in a wood," she added.
She decided to contact the local animal rescue charity. Brinsley Animal Rescue offered their help and started looking for an animal sanctuary that could welcome the pigs.
"Wherever she has come from, she deserves a safe and happy life with her little family. I think she has earned her freedom now," said Anna.
When the Warren Farm in Haughton - the owner of the pigs reclaimed the family, animal organisations launched an online petition to save Matilda and her family. "Her motherly instincts kicked in and she knew she had to get herself and her babies to safety to protect them," the animal charity wrote in the petition. "
Adding: "Pigs would naturally live for 15-20 years, but are generally slaughtered at around 6 months old, unless kept for breeding. Pigs are extremely intelligent, one of the most intelligent species on earth. They can be smarter than some primates, dolphins, dogs and even human toddlers! They are highly social and emotional beings and can pick up on the emotions of other pigs in their group and naturally would live in very complex social groups, similar to wolves or great apes. Pigs communicate to each other with different grunts and oinks, signalling danger or just saying hello. They also have exceptional memories and can distinguish familiar and unfamiliar faces, even remembering who has treated them with kindness or cruelty. The more we learn about pigs the more we come to understand that they see the world in many of the same way’s humans do."
The petition was signed by over 6,000 people.
Thanks to the general public interest and support, the pigs family have been taken to safety. The animals will stay in Brinsley Animal Rescue for 21 days until they can legally be moved to their new homes in sanctuaries, where they will live till the rest of their lives.
The Surge Sanctuary will receive Matilda and four of her piglets. The organisations are now looking for a suitable home for the other piglets.
Brinsley wrote on social media: “We cannot tell you how emotional we all feel but we have just picked up Matilda and all her babies.”
“Thank you so, so much everybody for helping us to do this today and all the reporters that have taken this story around the world. We also thank the farm for allowing us to rescue this courageous girl and her beautiful babies. We will update you and I think Matilda herself wants to say a big, big thank you too.”