A pregnant pig named Matilda luckily ended up at a sanctuary after fleeing from a farm and giving birth to at least nine piglets in a forest in Nottinghamshire, England.

Dog walker Anna Aston couldn’t believe her eyes when she discovered the family of pigs in the forest near Ollerton.

“I knew they weren’t wild boar,” she told BBC. “They just looked like ordinary pigs.”

Aston contacted nonprofit Brinsley Animal Rescue, which has its own sanctuary and helps rescued animals find homes. A heart-wrenching Facebook post from the group said that it was “pleading with the farm to let her go to a sanctuary with all of her babies.”

Jon Beresford, who runs the organization, said he believes Matilda ran away from the farm to protect her piglets.

“It’s almost like her maternal instincts are like, ‘I want to get out of here and have my babies,’ and she has broken out,” he told BBC.

Thankfully, the farm agreed to surrender the family and turned the pigs over to Brinsley Animal Rescue.

Matilda and her piglets are temporarily staying at the rescue’s sanctuary, and in a few weeks, they will relocate to Surge Sanctuary. The brave mother pig and four of her babies will spend their entire lives there, where they will never again have to worry about being slaughtered for food.

The remaining five piglets will be raised until they’re fully independent, at which point the sanctuaries will search for loving forever homes for them.

“By rehoming to life-long homes, in line with strict rehoming Policy, allows both sanctuaries to rescue more animals,” Brinsley Animal Rescue wrote in a Facebook post. “If suitable homes are not found, they will be offered life-long sanctuary.”

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