Our first piggy resident was Bella – the one who started it all. She was living with her human mum Chris Silverstone in Kalk Bay, on the coast of Cape Town, and loved to roam. She would often stray from her home in her bright red harness with identification badge, and Chris would get calls from all over Kalk Bay to report ‘your pig is in our garden or restaurant or park or road’.  Sadly, Bella’s freedom was her undoing and the municipality ultimately stepped in to spoil her fun, demanding that she be removed or put to sleep. Nicky happened to read about Bella’s plight on social media and tentatively offered Bella sanctuary at Tabularasa Farm.  Nicky however had no prior experience with pigs and was slightly nervous!

A short while later Bella arrived in a small car driven by Chris, and as Nicky watched this beautiful grey and black creature step daintily from the car, she was immediately smitten.  Over the months that followed Chris visited Bella at the Sanctuary regularly and helped Nicky learn about raising a pig.  They had great fun taking trips to the nearby river and walking Bella around Greyton village with her harness, and Bella who became somewhat of a local celebrity, was also allowed to run safely in the back garden of accommodating restaurants.  Eventually though, Bella the mini-pig grew just too big, and when she reached over 120 kilos it was time for her to settle permanently in her paddock at the Sanctuary.  Bella enjoyed six wonderful years with us before passing away suddenly after a heart attack.  Sadly, the methods of breeding these so called ‘mini’ pigs can give rise to serious genetic deficiencies and, although she appeared in perfect health, Bella suffered from a weak heart.


If you’d like to sponsor Bella’s care or other animals in need please visit our Sponsor-a-farm-friend Programme or if you’d like to make a contribution to the sanctuary please head over to our Donate page.