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Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2006, 00:39 GMT
Extinct island pig spotted again
Shetland grice model
The grice had tusks and would attack lambs
An extinct pig which was indigenous to Shetland has been seen for the first time in more than 100 years.

A model of the grice - which was the size of a large dog and had tusks - has been created after work by researchers and a taxidermist.

The pig, which attacked lambs, was kept domestically until the 1800s, when landowners forced islanders to keep fewer swine and the breed died out.

The model will go on display at the new Shetland Museum and Archives.

The grice was covered with long stiff bristles over a fleece of coarse wool.

In order to reconstruct it, Dr Ian Tait, curator of collections at Shetland Museum, trawled through published sources to find various descriptions, and investigated artefact and archaeological findings.

No-one alive today has seen a Shetland grice. The result has been well worth all the hard work.
Dr Ian Tait
Shetland Museum

His colleague Angus Johnson, archives assistant at Shetland Archives, also researched documents.

Their work was put together to produce a detailed description of what the pig looked like.

The job of bringing the pig back to life was then handed to taxidermist David Hollingworth.

They decided to use an immature wild boar, adding tusks and a ridge of four inch long black hairs down the animal's back.

Drawing of Shetland grice
The pig was domesticated but died out in the 1800s

Dr Tait said: "No-one alive today has seen a Shetland grice, so making this reconstruction relied on months of research, finding out how large the animal was and what colour and shape it was. The result has been well worth all the hard work.

"We are confident that the reconstruction is an excellent interpretation of the pig breed that lived in Shetland for many centuries.

"We're delighted that visitors to the museum will now be able to see for themselves an animal that had such a large part in Shetland's farming history."

Shetland Museum and Archives is due to open to the public in spring 2007.


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