More than half a dozen pigs, who were taught to swim as a part of a Bahamas tourist attraction, have turned up dead on a beach — and visitors to the area may be responsible.
Autopsies showed the seven pigs died from ingesting too much sand, officials in the Bahamas told reporters earlier this week.
“Sand cannot be digested, and the autopsy which was performed on one or two of the animals showed that they had a good amount of sand in their stomach,” the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries V. Alfred Gray told Tribune 242.
Gray said the deaths of the pigs that washed ashore Friday could also be related to the food and alcohol that tourists often feed them.
"Feeding them is going to be a problem because we cannot control people giving them beers and wine and all kinds of things, which you know animals cannot digest like humans do," Gray said. "People have taken the liberty to feed them and the worst part is when they throw the food on the sand, the animals will eat it. But when they eat the food, they also ingest sand material."
Big Major Cay, popularly known as Pig Beach, once housed 22 pigs that swam alongside tourists. They are not indigenous to the area, and locals believed they were brought to the Bahamas years ago as farm animals, and learned to swim in the fresh water.
The pigs’ owner, along with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Ministry of Tourism are now setting up measures to ensure the 15 pigs that remain alive are kept safe.
Gray told Tribune 242 that they now intend to rope off the area where pigs swim. Tourists will be welcome to swim alongside the pigs and take photographs, but will not be able to enter the area with food or liquor.