Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

In Tonga, Pigs Fish but Don't Fly - Yet. ; Feral Pigs in the South Pacific Nation Wade Offshore to Catch Fish, Crabs, and Mussels

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

In Tonga, Pigs Fish but Don't Fly - Yet. ; Feral Pigs in the South Pacific Nation Wade Offshore to Catch Fish, Crabs, and Mussels

Article excerpt

Travelers who think they have seen it all should head to the island kingdom of Tonga for one of the Pacific's strangest tourist attractions: "fishing pigs."

Hogs on the archipelago's main island, Tongatapu, have conquered their fear of the ocean and now forage at low tide for crabs, mussels, seaweed, and fish marooned in rock pools.

While piglets snuffle around a few yards from the beach, fully grown porkers wade into the turquoise sea up to their waists.

The porcine pioneers are descendants of animals introduced here by European explorers such as Captain James Cook, who dubbed Tonga the Friendly Islands when he landed in the 1770s. In the region, feral pigs are still known as "Captain Cookers" and pork is a favorite dish.

The fishing razorbacks are a must-see attraction for the growing number of tourists being lured to Tonga by recently introduced cheaper and more regular flights from Australia and New Zealand.

In the coastal village of Talafo'ou, what looks like a miniature hippo is half-submerged in the sea, 100 yards from the beach. …

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