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The Bahamas' Wild Pigs Meet Dr. Sylvia Earle And Mission Blue (PHOTOS)

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DAY ONE: NASSAU AND STANIEL CAY

By Kip Evans with Mission Blue:

After dragging hundreds of pounds of equipment from the United States we finally arrived in the Bahamas yesterday afternoon. Looking a bit ragged and feeling a bit beat up from our flights, we were excited to meet with our team near Staniel Cay, but we made a short stop in Nassau first to meet with the Minister of the Environment, The Honorable Kenred Dorsett.

Team member Eleanor Phillips (The Nature Conservancy) picked us up at the airport and whisked us off to a packed office filled with the Minister, his aids, and members of the Bahamas National Trust; the equivalent of the U.S. National Park Service. After introductions, Dr. Earle gave a 10 minute talk about the state of the ocean, “The next decade is critical to preserving what’s left of the ocean, we can’t continue to act as if we are not harming the ocean. We have a wealth of knowledge at our finger tips that we just can’t ignore.” [Text continues after images.]

Images and captions courtesy of Kip Evans, Lisa Roberts and Mission Blue.

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Dr. Earle also talked about the importance of marine protected areas and she praised the Bahamian government for making a commitment to set aside 20 percent of the marine environment by 2020. Minister Dorsett told Dr. Earle that he appreciated her tireless efforts and dedication to protecting the ocean, “we are only as strong as our partners and public education is a critical component to advancing protection. We need conservation groups like The Nature Conservancy and the Bahamas National Trust to move this commitment forward, so that we don’t lose momentum.”

DO PIGS FLY? WE DON'T KNOW ABOUT THAT BUT THEY SURE CAN SWIM!
By Mavis McRae:

No trip to Staniel Cay would be complete without a trip to see the wild pigs. They swim out to meet visiting boats who often bring food. When we showed up at the beach on our first evening, we could see hoof prints in the sand, but unfortunately not a pig was in sight. We waited for about 20 minutes -- walking the beach before jumping back in the boats in search of these infamous pigs. After spotting some goats hidden in a limestone cave, we finally saw a pink body in the scrub.

The boat crew emitted various calls and whistles, including the proper pig call of “soo-ee” from Sylvia, and soon we had three pigs running through the trees in pursuit of their dinner. As soon as they hit the beach they turned their snorkel-like snouts to the waves and started swimming. It is remarkable to see a 150 pound pig dog paddle its way to your boat, grunting and snorting all the way. Upon reaching the boat, they used their snouts as leverage against the boat to reach their mouths up for the promise of food. Kip and Sylvia jumped in the water to capture the moment much to the delight of not only our team, but the pigs. With daylight fading, it was time to head back to Sirenuse to share memories of our first day in the Bahamas.

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