By Mark Pygas
Seven of the Bahamas’ famous swimming pigs have been found dead after tourists reportedly gave them beer and rum.
The deaths bring the size of the colony down from around 22 to 15. Although some reports suggest that the colony could now be only seven or eight strong.
One of the pig’s owners, Wayde Nixon, found the animals dead in seas off Exuma Cays, prompting the government to ban visitors from feeding the pigs.
Nixon told The Nassau Guardian:
“The pigs were given the wrong food.”
“We had the government vet in there [who] examined them all thoroughly. 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.”
“Right now it’s blowing out of proportion with people, anybody, bringing food there, anybody doing what they [want to] do. We have people coming there giving the pigs beer, rum, riding on top of them, all kinds of stuff.”
Kim Aranha, president of the Bahamas human Society animal group, said that the pigs had eaten something poisonous, but that they didn’t know for certain if it was alcohol.
“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.”
“I know there are a lot of silly sailors that go and feed them alcohol to try and get them drunk but that’s not to mistake them with the tour operators based out of Nassau who have treated them with excellent care.”
Despite the uncertainty, V Alfred Gray, Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources, said that the government has placed a ban on tourists feeding the animals at all.
He clarified that “people will be able to take photographs and see the pigs swim… but they will not be able to feed them things.”