Wearing a pink pig mask, cape, a silver belt and black spandex, this real-life superhero is known as Mr. Pigman. He patrols the forests of Latvia battling the forces of evil in the form of unscrupulous litterbugs:
“Just look at this mess! Scoundrels! How could they litter like this?” Mr. Pigman asks, pointing to mounds of trash sprawled across the side of the road. This snout-donning, snuffling super-swine spends his days charging around Latvia, trying to clean up the woods and make the littering culprits squeal for mercy. There is even a legend to accompany him.
“If you litter in the forest you will turn into a pig,” Mr. Pigman’s secretary, Ginta Bormane, warned. And this may be more than a bluff, as Mr. Pigman is not all “oink.” “Once a forest warden called us and said he’d found the remains of a car,” Mr. Pigman recalled. “By the serial number we managed to find the owner and fined him – 200 lats [US $400]”
When Mr. Pigman started his work six years ago, Latvia’s forests had become a pig sty, rife with areas that looked more like garbage dumps. Since then, the Pig has saved their bacon. Mr. Pigman, who like all superheroes refuses to reveal his true identity, works with police, educates school children, lobbies parliament and keeps on the hoof, rooting out those who litter and raising public awareness.
In fact, he has become quite a Latvian celebrity. “The world has four superheroes: Superman, Batman, Spiderman and the Latvian Tsukmans – Pigman,” he says. “Pigman will work until the last plastic bag or last bottle is gone from the forest,” said his secretary.