When pigs fly! Wild boars team up to free two piglets trapped in a cage

In the middle of the night on January 28, 2020, a group of wild boars went on a mission to rescue two piglets trapped in a cage east of Prague in the Czech Republic – and the daring feat was caught on camera.

A team of scientists from the Czech University of Life Sciences released a study this month in Scientific Reports, describing the first evidence of rescue behavior in wild boars.

The footage — released as a series of images — document a woman, amid a group of eight wild boars, modifying wooden trunks securing the cage doors to free the couple from the trap.

“Two boars were confined together for 2 hours and 35 minutes,” Michaela Masilkova, lead author and colleagues on the study shared.

The other boars arrived at the capture site after 2 hours and 6 minutes of the two being captured, and the entire apparent rescue event from first contact of the opening mechanism to the last available photo took 29 minutes, with the first successful removal of a log after 6 minutes.’

In the middle of the night on January 28, 2020, a group of wild boars carried out a mission to rescue two piglets trapped in a cage east of Prague in the Czech Republic - and the daring feat was captured on camera

In the middle of the night on January 28, 2020, a group of wild boars carried out a mission to rescue two piglets trapped in a cage east of Prague in the Czech Republic – and the daring feat was captured on camera

The trap was set up for experimental purposes at the Voděradské Bučiny National Nature Reserve, allowing researchers to study the movement and potential measures of prevention of African swine fever.

African swine fever is a highly contagious haemorrhagic viral disease of domestic and wild pigs, but it poses no threat to humans and cannot be transmitted to them.

The great breakout began at 11:06 p.m. on January 28, when two young wild boars encountered the wooden box.

Inside was a piece of corn, which one of the wild boars began to eat and the other followed shortly after.

The great breakout began at 11:06 p.m. on January 28, when two young wild boars encountered the wooden box.  There was a piece of corn in it, in which one of the wild boars started eating and the other followed shortly after

The great breakout began at 11:06 p.m. on January 28, when two young wild boars encountered the wooden box.  There was a piece of corn in it, in which one of the wild boars started eating and the other followed shortly after

The great breakout began at 11:06 p.m. on January 28, when two young wild boars encountered the wooden box. There was a piece of corn in it, in which one of the wild boars started eating and the other followed shortly after

About 15 minutes later, the cage door closed, locking the two inside

About 15 minutes later, the cage door closed, locking the two inside

About 15 minutes later, the cage door closed, locking the two inside

About 15 minutes later, the cage door closed, locking the two young boars inside.

The next day at 1:27 a.m., the group of eight wild boars appeared at the cage and began fidgeting with a log that locked the door.

“Then the group dispersed around the trap and stayed up to 2 meters away from it,” the study reads.

‘At 01:31, the FWB [female wild boar] facing the trap with the mane visibly erect, clear signs of piloerection.

“At 1:34 AM, the FWB apparently fell against the forward log with its head in a bent-back posture and mane erect.

“At 1:36 a.m. the right end of the front trunk was released while the left end remained in place.”

The next day at 1:27 a.m., the group of eight wild boars appeared at the cage and began fidgeting with a log that locked the door.

The next day at 1:27 a.m., the group of eight wild boars appeared at the cage and began fidgeting with a log that locked the door.

The next day at 1:27 a.m., the group of eight wild boars appeared at the cage and began fidgeting with a log that locked the door.

‘At 01:31, the FWB [fully grown female] facing the trap with the mane visibly erect, clear signs of piloerection. “At 1:34 AM, the FWB apparently fell against the forward log with its head in a bent-back position with a raised mane”

“Then the FWB went to the rear trunk holding the back door and looked at the side of the door.”

By 1:40, the female wild boar was able to push the trunk out of position, unlock the door and free the piglets inside.

The researchers did not find that the large female acted independently of the group and prompted them to save the two in the cage, and did so through the motivation of empathy.

By 1:40, the female wild boar was able to push the trunk out of position, unlock the door and free the piglets inside.  The researchers did not think the large female acted independently of the group, saving the two in the cage, and did so through the motivation of empathy

By 1:40, the female wild boar was able to push the trunk out of position, unlock the door and free the piglets inside.  The researchers did not think the large female acted independently of the group, saving the two in the cage, and did so through the motivation of empathy

By 1:40, the female wild boar was able to push the trunk out of position, unlock the door and free the piglets inside. The researchers did not think the large female acted independently of the group, saving the two in the cage, and did so through the motivation of empathy

“The fact that she showed signs of piloerection in more than half of the photos she was present on may imply a possible physiological arousal of the woman when looking at others in distress and possibly even corresponding emotional state,” the statement said. researchers in the study.

“She also stayed close to the cage all the time and often looked at the victims. So it is possible that the female rescuer perceived the situation as dangerous or perceived the emotional state of the trapped boars and acted to alleviate it.”

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