By Hannah Walhout
Updated February 27, 2017
Credit: © Toby Gibson / Getty Images

It seems that we are one step closer to solving the mystery of last week’s mass pig death at Big Major Cay in the Bahamas.

In late February, a still-unconfirmed number of Bahamian pigs, a Bahamian tourist attraction beloved for swimming with visitors, were found dead on the beach where they had made their home. According to the Daily Express, it is possible that well-meaning (or, simply, dumb) tourists may have caused the tragedy by feeding the pigs tropical drinks and food intended for humans.

Wayde Nixon, the owner and guardian of the swimming pigs, told the media that the pigs had been fed “the wrong food” by visitors to the beach. Said Nixon, “We have people coming there giving the pigs beer [and] rum”—perhaps a typical diet for a tourist visiting the islands, but one that may have proved lethal for the animals.

The rise of “Pig Beach” as a tourist attraction has led to increased human interference in their habitat, with Nixon noting that this type of incident “never happened” until the pigs became such a draw. “Right now it’s blowing out of proportion with...anybody bringing food there, anybody doing what they [want to] do.”

It is not yet clear whether the tragedy was actually the result of a booze-fueled binge; authorities have also pointed to poisonous plants as a possible cause of accidental death.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources for the Bahamas is working to protect the remaining 15 or so pigs by limiting access to their part of the beach. Fencing off the area, though a threat to the grand tradition of pig selfies, has been raised as an option for keeping meddling tourists from interfering with the animals.

Hopefully the moves will help protect the pigs still swimming at Big Major Cay.