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Pig Beach

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Pig Beach

Lisza Lo, Staff Writer

Located in the heart of the Bahamas’ Exuma Cays, a unique part of the Big Major Cay island is known to locals and tourists as “Pig Beach.” The island’s famous swimming pigs have attracted numerous visitors each year from across the globe and act as great photo opportunities for tourists.

The pigs are not natives to the island as it’s uninhabited, so how exactly did the pigs end up there? There is no certain answer, but native Jerry Lewless said that “pigs were stranded on the islands” after shipwrecks. Others say that sailors dropped off the pigs on the island to cook when they went back. At the moment, there are approximately 20 pigs and piglets residing on Pig Beach, and they are the only inhabitants of the island.

In addition to the stunning scenery, the swimming pigs are one of the main reasons why the 365 islands of the Exumas have had so many tourists in recent decades. These pigs have warmed up to tourists, especially since there are daily tours that visit the island. A typical tour of Pig Beach would consist of the arrival of the boat, feeding the pigs, and taking pictures with them. These photos often attract attention from users online, as one can see by scrolling through the “#pigbeach” and “#swimmingpigs” tags on Instagram.

Due to the large number of tourists who interact with the swimming pigs each day, many people have started to discuss the ethics of commercializing the animals. There are no official regulations that tourists have to follow when approaching the pigs, so the lack of rules have resulted in them being mistreated. According to Ana Connery of The Points Guy, tourists are advised by guides to not “handle the animals,” but that does not stop them from picking up the swimming pigs for the sake of their pictures. In addition, even though the pigs are on a restrictive diet, visitors still feed the pigs. As a result, the pigs often consume large amounts of sand. On one occasion in 2017, ten pigs were found dead on the beach with “bellies filled with sand.” It’s safe to assume that the influx of tourists has impacted the swimming pigs’ lifestyle.

Despite the criticism, the swimming pigs of the Bahamas’ Exumas continue to be a major tourist attraction. With multiple daily tours, it has become a part of many’s bucket lists. Travel bloggers and YouTubers continue to feature these attractions in their content, drawing further attention towards the swimming pigs. All in all, the swimming pigs have become a global sensation and a popular tourist spot.

Photo courtesy of MASHABLE.COM

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