KUNM

China's 'Strong-Willed Pig' Has Been Cloned

Sep 22, 2011
Originally published on September 22, 2011 4:01 pm

He's a national hero in China, as NPR's Melissa Block learned in 2009.

Zhu Jian Qiang, or "Strong-Willed Pig", survived for 36 days in the rubble of a home in southwest China after the devastating earthquake there in 2008. It's thought he only had water and charcoal to live on.

Since then, the castrated male has gone on to be a featured part of an earthquake museum in Dayi, China. And now, he'll live on — sort of — after he dies.

Scientists have cloned strong-willed pig, producing six little piglets, Global Post's Weird Wide Web blog reports. It adds that:

"The pig became a symbol for national resilience. More than 90,000 people died or went missing in the devastating 8.0 magnitude earthquake, which affected Sichuan and parts of neighboring Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. ... In 2008 ... the hero pig topped an online poll of '10 animals that moved China' for his spirit of never giving up, China Daily reports."

The piglets will be living at the museum and a genetic institute.

NTD filed this video report about strong-willed pig in late 2008.

(Note: Melissa's 2009 story refers to strong-willed pig as a "sow." Unfortunately, there was a problem with some translation at the time. Strong-willed is in fact a he, not a she.)

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

There is news today of a pig.

(SOUNDBITE OF SNORTING PIG)

BLOCK: In particular, a 330-pound pig who became a Chinese national hero. His name is Zhu Jian Qiang, which translates to strong-willed pig. He got his name after he survived the 8.0 magnitude earthquake in Sichuan Province in 2008.

(SOUNDBITE OF SNORTING PIG)

BLOCK: Six piglets were made with his DNA. Reports say the pigs will be sent off in pairs to live in a museum and a genetic institute. Scientists want to know what made this strong-willed pig so strong-willed. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.