Animal lovers have reacted with fury after learning that people are feeding a caiman with live cats and dogs for entertainment.
An eyewitness with a smartphone filmed the caiman eating a live animal, said to be a cat, near the town of Puerto Berrio in north-western Colombia’s department of Antioquia.
Spectators can be heard in the video cheering when the caiman kills the animal with two powerful bites before submerging into the lake.
‘Look, it’s great,’ one girl says, while people applaud and scream with excitement at the spectacle.
Animal activist Nancy Monterrosa said local cat and dog owners were complaining that their pets were being stolen to feed the caiman.
They say residents are feeding the huge reptile, which has made its home in a lake in a local area known as Cano Grecia, for entertainment.
Ms Monterrosa said: ‘The video was sent to me by a person who is very sad as he lost his pet and suspects that it was food for the caiman living there.’
She said that, apart from the cruelty to the cats and dogs, the residents were endangering themselves by feeding the reptile.
She added: ‘There are several caiman in the area. The situation is out of control and nobody is doing anything about it.
‘People told me that fishermen have offered to catch them and to take them away to a better place but we do not know what the authorities have said.’
However, Cesar Augusto Lascarro, secretary of the local environment department, said experts had already visited the area to evaluate the situation.
An eyewitness with a smartphone filmed the caiman eating a live animal, said to be a cat, near the town of Puerto Berrio in north-western Colombia’s department of Antioquia
‘They visited the area and we hope that in the following days, biologists will arrive there to take it to the Chiqueros area which is its natural habitat,’ he added.
Mr Lascarro warned local people not to feed the animal.
He said: ‘We know that it is new and interesting people but throwing it food and other things is dangerous.’
Mr Lascarro added that the caiman would not try to leave the lake so long as people were feeding it.
Caimans, a close relative of the alligator, inhabit Central and South America where they live in habitats from marshes and swamps to mangrove rivers and lakes.