Monday, 14 August 2023 - 2:24pm

Traffic ham

1 min read

News article photos (2 items)

The runaway pig in a crate with some food to eat.
Animal Control Officer Jade Cathcart and Motorways Sergeant Jonny Campbell by the side of the road with the captured pig.

A rogue pig who took up residence on the edge of State Highway 16 near Te Atatū was finally captured last week after evading authorities for more than a week. 

The slippery swine prompted numerous calls from startled motorists, with obvious concerns of potential 'traffic ham' should the animal venture onto the network.

"He had resisted being caught previously, and clearly was too big and smart for officers to use catch poles," says Auckland Motorways Manager, Senior Sergeant Scott Cunningham (no pun intended!).

"The significant risk was scaring the pig and having it running into live lanes. At his weight and size the result would have been serious.

The cone marks the patch of scrub where the pig had made home. 
The cone marks the patch of scrub where the pig had made itself at home.

"Suggestions of destroying the animal were initially seen as the only plan, but Motorways Sergeant Jonny Campbell and Auckland Council's Animal Control Officer Jade Cathcart persevered with a more humane option."

Over a number of days, Jade baited a large dog trap on the side of the motorway. Eventually, the pig couldn’t resist the fine mix of ripe bananas and cabbage on offer and wandered into the cage.

A camera set up by Waka Kotahi to monitor the area the pig was frequenting alerted officers that it had finally been caught. 

The pig was loaded into a trailer "without incident" and taken to the Henderson Animal Shelter.

"We’re delighted to have caught this animal," says Auckland Council's Animal Management Officer, Clarke Trethowen. 

"It’s eluded everyone for some time but it’s satisfying to know it is safely enclosed and no longer a danger to motorists on the busy SH 16." 

Scott agrees: "Great teamwork with Animal Control taking the lead, Motorways providing support and a helping hand, while JTOC kept an eye on the pig and the trap."