Friday, March 28, 2014

Could Komban be wandering the forests of the USA?

Komban, felled by the heroes' great boar spear.
Komban, the giant boar who menaces the lands of Ponnivala, appears to have some descendants living in North America.

In North America, wild boar were introduced by European settlers as hunting quarry. Being the adaptable omnivores they are, these animals (known regionally as "razorbacks") quickly established themselves as an invasive, and quite destructive, species.

In addition to these animals, which are known to be aggressive and can grow to an appreciable size, domesticated pigs were introduced as livestock on farms. When some of these animals escaped into the wild, the formed a feral breeding population that became almost as invasive as the boars.

But what is especially interesting is that when these two species mixed in the wild, their offspring became enormous! Domestic pigs are bred for size, with larger hogs being an important commodity on both the food and breeding markets. When these two closely-related species met, the results were astounding.

Just as in Asia, where legends of giant-sized wild boar abound (as in The Legend of Ponnivala), rumours and tall tales of giant boar roaming the forests of North America began to spread. For the most part, these were thought of as campfire tales and the stuff of Hollywood movies.

But in the last decade, sightings and kills by hunters have brought to light conclusive evidence of enormous wild boar in North America. Perhaps not as enormous as King Komban; who the bards tell us was 60 feet high and 70 feet long; but still very impressive in size.

For instance, just this month in North Carolina, a hunter shot this giant:

Source: Daily News

...a 10-year old male, approximately 8 feet in length and weighing in at 500 lbs!

Yet this beast pales in comparison to the one dubbed "Hogzilla," shot in Alapaha, Georgia in 2004. That monster was 12 feet long and weighed over 1,000 lbs. It was assumed to be a hoax, but the remains were exhumed (dug up) in 2005 for examination, which determined its actual size was actually around 800 lbs (360 kg) and between 6.9 and 8.6 feet long. His tusks were 28 inches (71 cm) and 19 inches (48 cm) long! Hogzilla was confirmed to be a hybrid animal.

But the real prize in the USA goes to "Hogzilla II," another hybrid animal, this time from Alabama. Taken in 2007, this giant weighed an incredible 1,051 lbs and measured 9 feet, 4 inches long. The astonishing thing about this animal is that it was shot by 11-year-old Jamison Stone using a pistol!
Source: Fox News
It's important to note first of all that the last two animals mentioned were hybrids, which tend to grow much larger than natural wild boar. Second, wild boar and wild (feral) pigs are nuisance species in North America, and hunting is encouraged to help control the populations of these animals, which can cause serious damage to forest, wildlife habitat, and agricultural land.

The largest subspecies (non-hybrid) of wild boar is the Manchurian boar, which can weigh 400 lbs (180 kg), while specimens of other varieties have been found in France* and Romania weighing some 550 lbs (227 kg) and 661 lbs (300 kg) respectively. (source: Wikipedia)

*It's interesting to note that in a previous article we mentioned that the Celtic goddess Arduinna, protector of hunters and the forest, rode a great boar when hunting. Ardenne, which was named after Arduinna as the mythological place where she lived, is where this animal was shot in 1997.