Images of pigs paddling in turquoise water have made Big Major Cay – or Pig Beach – famous.
Now a staple bucket list item for many travellers, thousands flock to the Caribbean beach each year just to swim with them.
But last week, a number of the widely adored animals were found dead in Exuma.
And Wayde Nixon, who claims to have created the colony 30 years ago, believes tourists are to blame.
Nixon told The Nassau Guardian the pigs have become too big of an attraction and that tourism is getting out of control.
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 kind of stuff. That never happened, but lately [it has] because it’s so big, and we are never really there all the time.
So is alcohol to blame for the mass deaths? According to reports, around seven or eight of the pigs have died – leaving only about 15 left.
But there are several different theories as to why they may have died.
Kim Aranha, society president of the Bahamas Humane Society, an animal charity, told Tribune 242 it could have been a ‘horrible accident where they ate something poisonous’.
Extremely thankful for the ultimate BEST birthday gift from my bestfriend @tiffyspiiice!! Spent the day in an adventure tour to see the iguanas, walk on the beautiful mile-long sand bar, pet the sharks, & see the swimming pigs!! Thanks again babe! There's no one else I'd rather be walking on sunshine here with than you!! // #Blessed #Thankful #Besties #BahamaMamas #SwimmingPigs #Exuma ?? ??✨?❤ @theswimmingpigs ✨
Other reports say it could have been malicious, but investigations are still underway to find the cause.
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism website suggests that feeding the pigs is not prohibited, saying they ‘greet visitors that bring them treats’ and ‘are also fed by the crews of passing yachts and vessels.’
But that may not be the case for long. Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources V. Alfred Gray said his ministry has partnered with the Ministry of Tourism on the matter and will ‘seek to implement’ a boundary line for the pigs ‘as soon as is practical to do so’.