These astounding images of the swimming, free-roaming inhabitants of Pig Beach couldn't have come from anywhere else on Earth.
Hate factory farming? Then “Pig Beach” is for you. On this Bahamian island, pigs roam free. Around 20 pigs and piglets call this human-free island home, but you can find a few stray cats, chickens, and goats there, too.
As with most invasive species in the Caribbean islands, European explorers are likely behind the pig-packed island. When making their transatlantic trips, these Europeans would maroon livestock on various islands to keep ship cargo light, only to swing back later for a barbecue.
In fact, that’s where the term “buccaneers” comes from, according to Modern Farmer. The French called the frame on which feral-pig hunters used to cook pork a “boucan,” or a “buccal.” Thus, someone cooking livestock on a spit became known as a “boucanier,” which was then anglicized to “buccaneer.”
Even if these buccaneers never in fact returned, the pigs could have survived on food dumped from passing ships.
On the other hand, another theory suggests that this isn’t really a vestige of maritime exploration at all; somehow, some way, people brought the pigs to the island as a way to bring tourism revenue to the area. Proponents of this theory back it up by noting the pigs’ appearance, stating that the lack of tusks and straight tails — attributes common to feral pigs — suggest that these are domestic pigs, and have been from the start.
Either way, today’s tourists keep the pigs fed and the pigs keep the tourists coming, so it’s plausible that locals artificially cull or expand the pig population in hopes of selling trip packages to tourists.
Cynicism aside, it does seem like fun to go swimming with a bunch of friendly pigs.