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It said no to death and it lived
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08:26, June 24, 2008

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Everybody loves spring pig Wilbur that lives to see winter, thanks to a series of webs barn spider Charlotte weaves around him. But Wilbur's is just a story.

Baby 36, or "Zhu Jianqiang" as it is now named, is for real.

The more-than-a-year-old pig survived for 36 days under the debris of a house that collapsed in the May 12 earthquake, making it a celebrity of sorts.

Soldiers with a relief team found the pig in Pengzhou of Sichuan province on June 17.

Millions of web postings have followed the news, with netizens requesting its owner not to slaughter it, volunteering to keep it or urging authorities to conduct a study on it and preserve its body after it dies.

The news of the pig drew the attention of Jianchuan Museum curator Fan Jianchuan too. And on June 20, he bought it from its owner Wan Xinming for 3,008 yuan ($438). It was he who gave it the name Zhu Jianqiang and the nickiname "Baby 36".

Wan recalls that the pig was "in tears" when he and his wife saw and fed it after 36 days. "We didn't want to slaughter it But (after the quake) we no longer have the means to feed it."

It took the couple and the museum staff plenty of time and tears to move the pig, unwilling as it was to part with its owner, to its new home on Sunday.

Fan has promised to keep the pig as long as it lives.

The pig's surname "Zhu" shares the pronunciation with the Chinese character for pig, while "Jianqiang" means having a strong will, very much like Wilbur.

It is not known how the pig survived in the cramped space for so long, especially because veterinarians say pigs cannot do so for more than five days without food and water.

But it sure has lost a lot of weight. It weighed around 150 kg just before the quake; it weighs only about 50 kg now. It is slightly crippled but without any other visible injury.

It must have eaten sufficient charcoal and drunk rainwater, says senior local veterinarian Pan Banggui.

Source: China Daily



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