Piglet Found Wandering in Queens Living High on the Hog Upstate
COLLEGE POINT — This pig can't fly, but for a porker who may have been bound for the dinner table, he sure moved up in the world.
Wilbur, a 35-pound male Piétrain pig, discovered last Thursday wandering College Point Boulevard, will be spared from the butcher's table, as the New York Times' City Room blog first reported.
The escapee — from a breed commonly used for pork — stumbled on just the right kind of human to change his fate: a Parks Department worker.
"The pig was brought to one of our care centers by the New York City Parks Department," said Richard Gentles, a spokesman for Animal Care & Control, whose organization cared for the 4- to 6-week-old, dubbed Wilbur, at their Linden Boulevard shelter.
At the shelter, the little guy was living high on the hog.
"We kept him outside and separate, so he was well taken care of," said Gentles, before being taken to a farm Upstate.
Animal rescue workers escorted Wilbur, named after the lead-porker in E.B. White's "Charlotte's Web," to Farm Sanctuary, a 175-acre reserve in the Finger Lakes region of New York.
Now Wilbur can frolic with the more than 500 other rescued farm animals who live there, according to the group's website. The famed escaped Briarwood cow, Queenie, currently resides at the center.
Colin Henstock, the placement coordinator at the sanctuary, said that most pigs are slaughtered at about 6 months of age, and 250 pounds, and that Wilbur may have made an early getaway.
The now-country pig, who's living in Watkins Glen, N.Y., is "doing great right now," Henstock said. "He's warming up to us, he's in an isolation pen in our sheep pen right now. He's relaxing for the moment and he's doing super."
The piglet, who is up to be renamed thanks to a Twitter contest, appeared to be well fed, he added. But the group wasn't aware of any pork slaughterhouses in the College Point area, meaning the little guy may have hoofed it from elsewhere in the borough.
Henstock said another change the piglet will be making from his former city life is the access to such rich, high-calorie foods.
"In the industries, they're fed to fatten them up as quickly as possible," he explained. "Here we try to feed them a lower calorie mix of foods, so they can live a long and healthy life without any complications from being overweight."
Mayor Bloomberg would be proud.