A fluctuating family of 5-12 wild boars now frequents the trails and former gardens of Kampung Chek Jawa, whose human inhabitants are now scattered in the earth and across the narrow straits. In their wake, their village grounds now yield a regular bounty of fruit for the foraging hogs, which enjoy durians, rambutans, coconuts and other tropical treats under the watchful eyes of the hounds that guard the ranger's hut. One rather large and bristly individual (which my desexed duck first took to be a boar but turned out to be a sow) was seen making short work of a young coconut which it splintered into chewable husks.
The animals are probably near-sighted, as they seem to go about their business unperturbed if one approaches them silently and stealthily. Some visitors and their young 'urns even venture to within a couple of metres of the beasts to grab a money shot. But sudden sounds and movements easily spook the herd which would snort and squeal their way through the shrubbery and anyone in their path. The striped sucklings are somewhat larger than a puppy and tip-toe on tiny hooves after their family while going "oui oui oui". The herd has been hanging out by Chek Jawa in recent months, and while the area's bounty may have been a draw, there's a nagging suspicion that the pigs have been disturbed by ongoing work just beyond the wetlands to turn the dirt trail to Chek Jawa and back into a paved track. When completed, the smooth and rutless road will be a delight for joy-riders who'd no longer have to learn how to tweak the gears or test the brakes as they speed down the hills and slopes with the helmless confidence of false securities. With every step of progress, nature comes ever closer to the city and retreats farther from its heart.