BEIJING (AFP) — A pig that survived for 36 days buried beneath rubble in quake-hit southwest China on a diet of charcoal has been hailed as a symbol of the will to stay alive, state press reported Monday.
The pig, who weighed nearly 150 kilograms (330 pounds) at the time of the magnitude-8.0 earthquake on May 12, had lost two thirds of its weight when found last week, the Chongqing Evening Post said.
"It didn't look like a pig at all when it was saved. It was as thin as a goat!" a witness told Xinhua news agency.
According to the report in the Chongqing Evening Post, the pig survived on water and a bag of charcoal that had been buried with the one-year-old in the ruins of Pengzhou city, Sichuan province.
Although charcoal has no nutritional value, it is not toxic either and it filled the pig up, it said.
The curator of the local Jianchuan Museum has already bought the pig for 3,008 yuan (436 dollars) and will keep the animal for the rest of its life "as a living symbol of the earthquake disaster," the report said.
The museum has named the pig "Zhu Jianqiang," which means "Strong Pig," it added.
Owner Wan Xingming had given up the animal for dead, but when he heard that soldiers were going to clean up the rubble around his house on June 17, he rushed back to warn them that the dead pig could be infectious.
That is when the skinny porker was pulled out of the rubble.
Wan said he was willing to sell the pig for 3,008 yuan, charging 10 yuan for each pound it had previously weighed and adding eight yuan for good luck, the paper said.
Nearly 88,000 people were left dead or missing following the May 12 quake, the biggest earthquake disaster to hit China in three decades.`
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