Running with Pigs in Paradise

Islands in general and Oahu in particular give me a sense that I am never more than a few steps from the dangerous vagaries of nature. A recent Sunday New York Times article titled The Pesky Side of Paradise reminded me of this. Written by Lawrence Downes, the article tells of his unsuccessful hunting expedition on Oahu and explores the impact wild pigs have on the ecology of the Hawaiian Islands. Their arrival on the Islands is blamed on Captain Cook who apparently lost control of them, resulting in their offspring still roaming through paradise, tearing up foliage needed by native birds, digging troughs much loved by mosquitos, and spreading invasive plants with their scat.images

The article put me in mind of my own wild pig encounter during a stay at Schrader’s Windward Country Inn (the inn has since been sold and is now Paradise Bay Resort), a quirky laid back spot with a local flavor and perhaps the only inn on the less populated and less touristy windward side of Oahu.  Breakfast on their deck was completely casual with freshly grown tropical fruits and one of the most beautiful views on Oahu: 


Kaneohe Bay off your right shoulder and the lushly majestic Ko’olau Mountain Range off the left.

Runners see some unusual things, and so it was on an easy afternoon run I had my wild pig encounter (when we were both on the hoof so to speak). I left the inn, watching for oncoming traffic as I headed down the very narrow ocean-side stretch of the Kamehameha Highway.

About a mile into the run, what do I see but three little pigs, yes – three little pigs, sprinting past on their short legs down through the small ditch beside the road, then taking a diagonal line up the incline heading toward the tropical brush in state park land. They squealed to one another as they ran, exchanging frantic notes.

The following day on an early morning run, I came across an adult pig in the same area, dead on the side of road. This pig did not have short little legs, but large muscular legs and she was an enormous animal. Was she the mother of the frantic three little pigs?  If so, where was she a day earlier when her babies were hightailing it up the hill? Were we close to crossing paths before she was injured?

My  assumption was that Mama Pig was hit by a car or pickup, but a couple of locals had a different view.  They were of the opinion that someone was hunting illegally and for whatever reason had to leave their wounded prey behind.

Ko'olau Range on Oahu

Ah, the vagaries of nature and the nature of runners to blithely find our way to them.


    • So glad you didn’t meet up directly with an adult wild pig. Last summer in Poland we stopped in an ancestral village (once German) and were told by retired householders there of the continuing problem residents have with wild pigs. The pigs come into gardens and dig furiously–and charge any humans who interfere. Three LITTLE pigs sound much better!

      • Yes, had I encountered a live, uninjured Mama Pig, who outweighed me and looked as though she had been much, much stronger than me it could have been a much shorter vacation. I wonder how and to what extent the villagers in Poland are allowed to hunt the wild pigs there.

  1. Good thing you didn’t run into the momma pig! I don’t know if they are anything like bears with their young, but I cant imagine them being too thrilled about a human running around their children. Love the pictures!

  2. You’re right, George. Would I have had time to jump onto a parked vehicle or make a run for it into the bay? And if so, do wild pigs swim? I don’t know but I would like this to be my last pig tale.

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