Afghanistan’s only known pig has been released out of quarantine two months after he was locked away because of swine flu fears.
The pig, a curiosity in Muslim Afghanistan where pork and pig products are illegal because they are considered irreligious, was quarantined because visitors to the zoo were worried it could spread the new H1N1 flu strain.
“Our people did not understand that the disease only passes from person to person and felt that the swine influenza might even be spread from the zoo because we have a pig here,” said zoo manager Aziz Gul Saqib.
“Khanzir” — Pashto for pig — appeared unperturbed as a team of zoo workers used sticks to gently prod him out of his temporary concrete home into his usual enclosure of lush green shrubs and a mud puddle.
Khanzir, who is about eight or nine years old according to Saqib, was one of a pair given to the zoo by China in 2002. His partner died about two years ago.
Afghanistan has reported no cases of the H1N1 flu virus.