Bangwe came to Free to be Wild when he was only a few days old. He and his sister had washed down the Bangwe river and were in a very poorly way on arrival. We lost his sister sadly but happily and proudly raised him into one of the fattest piggys I have ever seen!
Dynamite comes in small packages couldn’t be more real when it comes to raising baby pigs, despite their small size their huge characters make up for it!
Raising Bangwe was never dull especially when he was thrown into a family that consisted of a baby baboon, Umfazi, and a klipspringer Klipie, who would have known that this would be the founding trio of FTBW.
The biggest battle with any new orphan is the right milk formula, with the help of vet Dr. Mike Lowry (SA) we have been lucky enough to master the perfect piggy milk recipe!
Any moms out there that can vouch for the terrible two tantrums we can match you when it comes to food time with baby piglets. You would think they had been starved and the world was falling apart, feeding time is a messy affair, should we say a messy LOUD affair, caring for orphans the way their moms would takes a lot of long hard work, we can never be as good as their natural moms but only try!
Growing up in Baye’s garden, Bangwes relationship with the animals around him lead to a hit internet explosion of Umfazi and Holly taking rides on his back which he happily let them do. Nights were spent with Bangwe cuddled up with his besties, the baboons and two surrogate dogs, this was an unreal friendship that unfolded in front of us and kept us entertained daily!
A fully grown pig can be a very daunting thing to stumble across let alone come running at you full speed out of the bush! ? Bangwe was lucky enough to grow up in a free roaming environment in one of our semi wild enclosures , being supplement fed only for daily health check ups. Being able to live naturally taught him all the skills needed to make him the perfect candidate for release. Bangwe spent his days digging up roots, endless mud baths often joined by the girls (Holly and Umfazi) and digging out more furrows than you could imagine that we would call his forts as you never knew which one he would come shooting out from at top speed at any given moment ready to take action and by action we mean run up to you full speed t0 stop just at your feet and then roll over for a belly rub.
Release was always on the cards for Bangwe, so many people say it must be so sad releasing the animals we rescue and the truth is the saddest part is when you realize how much happier they are being free than living with humans and a lot of the time it is due to us that these animals become orphaned.
Bangwe is now the proud dad of many baby piglets and we often see him in the grassy vleis at Debshan ranch. Baye has visited him on a number of occasions to check up on his progress and my heart melts when we call out to him he acknowledges us for a moment or two and then trots off on his merry way with his wild family of pigs.
It saddens us to realize that, in so many cases, we as humans take the opportunity of freedom away from these animals making excuses on why they wouldn’t survive and how they are better off in our care. Releases are the happiest times for us in any orphans life span at FTBW, especially when you watch this now fully grown wild animal roam freely and show us that all good things are wild and free !! We are happy to say that two years later Bangwe is still living wild and free where he belongs.
A wonderful and successful wildlife release is what Free to be Wild is all about, being able to get a wild animal back where it belongs is such a huge reward. If you would like to help us do this for the other injured orphans that come into our care please consider making a donation. We are a non-profit organisation that relies solely on donations from the public.
The time we have with the orphans in our care is only borrowed and we are so grateful for it, each and everyone teaches us so much and gives us so much happiness and joy- forever in our memories Bangwe the warthog who let the baboons ride on his back will stay!
Thank you xoxo