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Pig Beach

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Big Major Cay
Nickname: Pig Beach
Vorobek Bahamas - swimming pigs.jpg
Pigs swimming in the Bahamas
Big Major Cay is located in Bahamas
Big Major Cay
Big Major Cay
Geography
Locationthe Americas
ArchipelagoExuma Cays
Total islands1
Major islands1
Administration
Capital cityNassau
Largest settlementNassau (pop. 248,948; as of 2010)
Prime MinisterHubert Minnis

Pig Beach[1] located on Big Major Cay[2] (also known as Major Cay[3]) is a beach on an uninhabited island (or cay) located in Exuma, the Bahamas. The island takes its unofficial name from the fact that it is populated by a colony of feral pigs which live on the island. It has become a tourist attraction in modern times.

The pigs are known in popular culture as "the swimming pigs"[4] although other islands with swimming pigs exist in the Bahamas.[5]

Geography and features

Exuma is a district of the Bahamas, and consists of over 360 islands.[6] Near Big Major Cay is Staniel Cay.[7] There are three freshwater springs on the island.[7]

History

Anecdotal history

A single, factual account of how the pigs ended up on the cay does not appear to exist. Folklore and various theories claim a number of different scenarios including pirates.[8]

Some say the pigs are said to have been dropped off on Big Major Cay by a group of sailors who wanted to come back and cook them. The sailors, though, never returned; the pigs survived on excess food dumped from passing ships.[citation needed]

Another legend has it that the pigs were survivors of a shipwreck and managed to swim to shore, while other accounts claim that the pigs had escaped from a nearby islet.[9] Yet others suggest that the pigs were part of a business scheme to attract tourists to the Bahamas[citation needed] while another claims the pigs were stocked on the island in the 1990s by residents of nearby Staniel Cay to raise for food.[5]

Modern day

The pigs are now fed by residents from neighboring islands and tourists[10] and the island is unofficially known as Pig Beach by both locals and tourists.[11]

In 2017, a number of the resident pigs were found dead[12] which caused speculation regarding the cause of death including claims of tourists feeding pigs alcohol or the pigs ingesting sand.[13][14][4]

Demographics and fauna

Big Major Cay is an island uninhabited by humans.[15] The pig population was estimated between fifty and sixty pigs as of 2019.[5] A few stray cats[16] and goats[17] can be found on the island as well.

Travel and tourism

From Nassau to Pig Beach is 89 miles (143 km) and takes 2 hours by speed boat. A number of tour operators offer both private and group trips from Great Exuma, Staniel Cay, and other nearby cays.

Popular culture

Pig beach has become a popular topic on social media sites like Instagram and featured in the television series, The Bachelor.[18] Some people claim to have been bitten by a pig while visiting.[19] They have been written about in a book and claim to be featured in a documentary.[20]

See also

References

  1. ^ Ripley's Believe It or Not! Annual 2013. 11 September 2012. ISBN 978-1-60991-032-7.
  2. ^ "Swimming with Pigs". The Island of the Bahamas. Archived from the original on March 8, 2016. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  3. ^ The Bahamas - Guidebook Chapter: Chapter from Caribbean Islands travel guide book (6 ed.). Lonely Planet. 2012. ISBN 9781743210826.
  4. ^ a b Daley, Jason. "What Killed More Than Half a Dozen of the Bahamas' Swimming Pigs?". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 2020-05-27.
  5. ^ a b c Rhodes, Wendy. "Hurricane Dorian: What happened to the beloved swimming pigs of The Bahamas?". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved 2020-05-27.
  6. ^ "Exuma". The Official Website of the Government of the Bahamas. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  7. ^ a b Susannah Cahalan (January 30, 2011). "Pig Kahuna is 'bacon' on own island". New York Post. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  8. ^ Villano, Matt. "The Bahamas beach where piggies swim". CNN. Retrieved 2020-05-27.
  9. ^ Greaves-Gabbadon, Sarah. "Best Bahamas Trips: Swim with Pigs in the Exumas". Caribbean Travel Magazine. Archived from the original on March 7, 2016. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  10. ^ Moorhouse, Austin E. (2004). Halcyon Days: From A Dream To Reality. Trafford Publishing. ISBN 9781412016650.[self-published source]
  11. ^ "Pigs swim in sea in Bahamas". The Telegraph. July 16, 2009. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  12. ^ "Widely Adored Swimming Pigs Found Dead in the Bahamas". Travel + Leisure. Retrieved 2020-05-27.
  13. ^ "This Is What Really Killed The Famous Swimming Pigs". National Geographic News. 2017-03-04. Retrieved 2020-05-27.
  14. ^ "Tourists Were Giving the Bahamas Pigs Alcohol, Officials Say". Travel + Leisure. Retrieved 2020-05-27.
  15. ^ "Swimming Pigs of Big Major Cay". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  16. ^ Frommer's ShortCuts (2012). The Exumas, Bahamas: Frommer's ShortCuts (2 ed.). John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781118470343.
  17. ^ McRae, Mavis (May 23, 2012). "The Bahamas' Wild Pigs Meet Dr. Sylvia Earle And Mission Blue (PHOTOS)". Huffington Post. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  18. ^ "Everything to Know About Swimming With Pigs in the Bahamas". Travel + Leisure. Retrieved 2020-05-27.
  19. ^ Baxter-Wright, Dusty (2019-07-07). "Pig beach is the Instagram hotspot you need to know about". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 2020-05-27.
  20. ^ Villano, Matt. "The Bahamas beach where piggies swim". CNN. Retrieved 2020-05-27.

Coordinates: 24°11′01″N 76°27′23″W / 24.18361°N 76.45639°W / 24.18361; -76.45639