SHANGHAI – The first reports came Sunday, and were shocking enough: more than 1000 dead pigs were fished out of Huangpu River in Shanghai, China Daily reported. But by Wednesday the count was approaching 6,000.

According to the labels pinned in the ears of the pigs which are used to trace their information, the dead pigs come from the upstream waters of the Huangpu River located in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces. More particularly from the Jiaxing city area in Zhejiang province, where many pigs died in the first 2 months of the year according to local media.

China Daily reports that tests have revealed that some pigs may have died from porcine circovirus, a common pig disease. Authorities in Shanghai on Tuesday night, put the number of recovered pigs at 5916.

Hunan province TV Channel news (Youku

According to Sina, the municipal government is very concerned about the dead pig toll rate, but ruled out mass swine epidemic. “No abnormal animal epidemic was reported in Jiaxing” said Jiang Hao, the deputy secretary of the city’s veterinary department, at a news conference on Tuesday.  

According to Jiaxing Daily, almost all of the 1400 families in Jiaxing’s Zhulin village are pig farmers. In January, 10078 pigs died and another 8325 died in February. Jiang refused to confirm these numbers, and said they have to be officially verified. 

Sina reports that Zhang Jiangguo, a businessman specialized in pig farming, said that “Pigs get sick easily due to the cold weather, especially when they lack good protection”. 

According to China Daily, most of the dead pigs retrieved in Shanghai have been buried in 7-meter-deep holes and covered with at least three meters of thick soil. Some carcasses were incinerated. 

Shanghai municipal government said in statement that after testing the water in the river, it was safe and no diseased pork were detected in markets, reports the BBC

Shanghai Huangpu River is the main water source of the city, it is well-known for its iconic waterfront in the centre of the city, the Bund. To many, it has come to symbolize the new modern China .

The Bund , Huangpu River, Shanghai (photo by: Greyworld)