Playa del Carmen, Q.R. – The once freely roaming hairless pig found along the Yucatan Peninsula during the last century was deemed extinct from over hunting.
It has been placed upon the Environmental Management Unit (UMA) Vereda Xcalacoco to reintroduce the pig into the area.
The hairless pig, which was part of traditional local cuisine, was originally brought to the Yucatan from the United States, however due to excessive consumption, the animal became extinct.
The new breeding program, which will be carried out by the village of Xcalacoco UMA, has begun with the purchase of 12 pigs by the state of Yucatan. At the moment, four of the female pigs are pregnant and within two months, will each give birth to about seven piglets.
Jorge Fuentes Gómez, director of the UMA, says that the goal of the breeding program is to regain the presence of the pig in the region. He explains that eating wild pig is much healthier than eating other types of meat because the wild pigs are not fed with synthetics.
“Each reproduced pig can sell for up to $3,000 when they are small and no longer being fed milk by their mothers (…) there are many people who love this breed because they consider it healthier. They even smell better than the common pig,” he said.
According to Adriana Medina Sanchez, gastronomy graduate specialist at the University of the Cloister of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, there are many buyers for this breed of pig in the Riviera Maya due to the fact it’s a main ingredient in many local dishes.
“At the time, this breed was used mostly by the Maya of the region to prepare traditional roasted suckling pig,” said Medina Sanchez.
This particular pig is a main ingredient in the Maya dish, pibil.