WTF Fun Fact 13060 – Swimming With Pigs In The Bahamas

Swimming with pigs in the Bahamas might sound like a great tourist activity. And thousands of people have enjoyed it. But like so many other “animal attractions,” it’s turning out to be great for marketing but not great for the animals themselves.

In 2017, seven pigs were found dead. Originally, wildlife specialists thought they may have been intentionally poisoned by tourists. But it turns out that while tourists are at fault, it was an accident.

The swimming pigs of the Bahamas

Big Major Cay in the Exumas is an uninhabited island. Except for the 20-30 feral pigs who live there. No one knows how the pigs got there, but they were likely left by sailors or escaped a ship and swam to shore.

The pigs love swimming and are generally pretty cute, so they make a great tourist attraction. For a couple of hundred dollars, you can go to the island and swim with the pigs, bringing them all sorts of snacks.

But if you really love wildlife, you’d probably do best to let them be.

It’s not the snacks themselves that harm the pigs. It’s the fact that humans have lured them down to the shores of the beach to get food. Why would they hunt for it themselves if it’s being handed out on the beach?

The death of the swimming pigs

In February of 2017, people were shocked to learn about the death of 1/3 of the beloved pigs. There were fears that tourists had given them alcohol and killed them.

But once they had autopsies, wildlife experts determined that sand played a huge role in their demise. Sand can’t be digested, so when the pigs snarf up a tasty snack off the beach or forage through the sand themselves when tourists aren’t around, they end up getting sand in their stomachs.

The dead pigs were full of sand.

A little over a dozen pigs remained after the tragedy. And you can still go see and swim with them. However, the Bahamas passed legislation to protect them and insisted tourists don’t leave behind any food. The beach is for lounging and swimming only.

A warden is now stationed at Pig Beach to keep tourists from breaking the rules.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Bahamas ‘swimming pigs’ killed by ingesting sand” – Scuba Diver Magazine

WTF Fun Fact 12757 – The Bahamas’ Underwater Statue

Have you ever wanted to see a famous statue but didn’t want to wait in line?

Well, how do you feel about going to the Bahamas to see it?

Ok, NOW, how do you feel about diving into the crystal clear ocean about 16 feet down to see it?

If you’re still thinking “this sounds great!” it might be time to book a trip to Nassau, Bahamas.

What, exactly, is the underwater statue “Ocean Atlas”?

According to Culture Trip (cited below): “You’ll find Ocean Atlas, a spectacular underwater sculpture by Jason deCaires Taylor, off the western coastline of New Providence, which has the largest population of any island in the Bahamas. It’s also where you’ll find the Bahamian capital, Nassau. Ocean Atlas is the world’s largest single underwater sculpture, and it doubles as a navigational aid, with a flag attached to the top poking above the water.”

The sculpture isn’t of the Greek god himself, but of a little girl carrying the weight of the ocean on her shoulders.

No mercy from Zeus

If you remember being taught about ancient Greek gods and goddesses, Atlas was a Titan – one of the deities who came before the ancient Greek gods. When the Titans tried to fight the gods, Atlas’ punishment from Zeus (who was, let’s face it, a real jerk) was being forced to hold up the heavens for eternity.

The statue is just a nod to the myth, and the subject is a local Bahamian girl. She can be viewed from just 16 feet beneath the clear water, so snorkeling or scuba diving will give you a great view of the piece which weighs 66 tons.

A sustainable underwater sculpture

The coolest thing about the “Ocean Atlas” is that it’s made from pH-neutral materials and does not damage the surrounding ocean environment (other than draw tourists). it was actually designed to draw divers away from more popular spots so the reefs and aquatic life could start to recover.

According to the artist’s website, the materials are stainless steel, pH-neutral cement, basalt and aggregates.

It’s just not an option to close some of those other sites since many tourists go to the Bahamas just to dive and see the reefs.

A whole new world

The VERY coolest thing about “Ocean Atlas” is that it is now breeding its own ecosystem as wildlife is attracted to it and it serves as an artificial reef that houses some coral (which is what gives reefs their color).

It’s also not super easy to get to, so you have to rent a charter boat and follow directions pretty closely in order to see her. In other words, humans have to behave responsibly around the statue so it’ll be there for the oceans and the people who live above them to enjoy.  WTF fun facts

Source: “How to See Ocean Atlas – the World’s Largest Underwater Statue” — Culture Trip