When news first spread about swimming pigs in the Bahamas, everyone wanted to swim with them. It is now one of the world’s most sought-after experiences and thousands of tourists travel to the island to witness the swimming pigs doggy-paddle through the crystal clear water.
Sadly, there are now investigations into how seven of the pigs were discovered dead and floating in the water of Big Major Cay last week.
Although the explicit cause of death is unknown at the moment, reports suggest that it could be due to tourists killing the pigs with a lethal diet.
With unrestricted access to the pigs, visitors could act however they pleased around the animals. Some tourists were even caught feeding the animals hot dogs, as well as other junk food and even alcohol.
“We had the government vet in there (and) examined them all thoroughly,” Wayde Nixon – a Bahamian man who brought the pigs to the island decades ago – told the Nassau Guardian.
“He gave them shots, he gave them medicine, and I was there and I worked with them for three days straight. We had them pigs there almost 30 years, and never has this happened before, but now we are going to have to regulate it” Nixon continued.
“Right now it’s blowing out of proportion with people, anybody, bringing food there, anybody doing what they [want to] do,” he continued. “We have people coming there giving the pigs beer, rum, riding on top of them, all kinds of stuff.”
It is unclear at this time how many pigs died and how many are still alive, but Nixon believes seven or eight passed away, leaving 15 alive.
Kim Aranha, president of Bahamas Humane Society, said “It’s really a mystery… It could just be a horrible accident where they ate something poisonous. It could be malicious but I don’t really see why someone would go out of their way to hurt those lovely animals.”
She added that there were “silly” people who were known to try to get the pigs drunk, but noted that tour operators out of Nassau treat the animals with respect.
Part of the Exuma island chain, Big Major Cay, also known as Pig Beach, sits in the Caribbean Sea to the southeast of Nassau. The pigs were free to roam the otherwise uninhabited island and this seemed to work until recently.
The pigs doggy-paddled through the crystal sea, drank from the island’s spring of fresh water and got fat on a steady supply of food brought by tourists, who visit the island by the boatload.
After news broke of this heartbreaking incident, officials now state that new regulations will be put into place that will prevent tourists from being able to feed them.