Aranguez residents upset over treatment of caiman in video

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Aranguez residents look at a video of a man hitting a caiman with a pice of metal on the Southern Main Road, Aranguez on Friday as Newsday reporter Shane Superville, right, looks on. – AYANNA KINSALE

Aranguez residents said they were upset that a large caiman was beaten to death in the area on Thursday.

A video of the caiman swimming in floodwater at the corner of the Aranguez Main Road and Sookia Trace, was circulated on WhatsApp.

Another video showed a man holding the animal against a fence while another man beat it.

The video stirred condemnation from social media users.

Newsday visited the area where the caiman was killed and spoke with residents and workers in the area who recalled the incident.

Azim Rahim, aka “Mitchy,” said he helped pull the caiman out of a nearby Lotto booth, but did not kill the animal.

He said the caiman tried to bite him while he tried to pull it out of the booth, but he was unharmed.

“I didn’t kill it, but it went inside the (Lotto) booth. A woman was inside there and it tried to bite her, so those boys in the area held it and they killed it.

“I don’t know who the person is that did that.

“I saw there was a lot of water and it wanted to bite me and all ,but I pulled away.

“The woman just went to play her mark and she started to bawl and thing, so when I pulled it out I just let it cross the road.”

Azim Rahim shows Newsday reporter Shane Superville on Friday, where he was almost bitten by a caiman on the Southern Main Road in Aranguez, on Thursday. – AYANNA KINSALE

Asked why the men didn’t try to subdue the animal without hurting it, Rahim said it tried to attack them repeatedly while they were trying to lure it away and felt they had no choice.

“They couldn’t catch it without harming it. It wanted to bite, so they lasso it and killed it.”

One man said he heard of the incident and was upset the men involved did not find another way to capture the caiman and then release it.

“I plant crops and stuff not too far from here, and there’s a lot of them that come out some days, and I just leave them alone.

“I don’t see what the point was to kill the animal…it was totally unnecessary.”

Newsday also spoke to Celina Singh, who runs the Lotto booth where the caiman was found. She said she was also upset at the way the men attacked the creature.

She said she had been in no immediate danger, and hoped it could have been captured without hurting it.

Contacted for comment, a police officer in the North Eastern Division said he did not have much information on what happened, so there would be further enquiry by the police.

He said there were laws in place to prevent cruelty against animals and once evidence of wrongdoing was found, those involved could face criminal charges.

“It’s a kind of callous, inhumane behaviour. There may be people who think that it might be a joke, but it’s not.

“If it is we have the laws that govern how animals should be treated, and there are breaches, then certainly, coming out of the video there is only so much we can gather and in terms of hardcore evidence.

“(But) once we have laws in place and there are breaches those involved will face the consequences.”

Asked what the public should do when faced with wild animals in urban areas, the officer suggested they call the zoo or any agency prepared to take the animal.