Caimans are struggling to survive in trash and polluted waters in a small lagoon in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The small lagoon Lagoinha das Taxas in Recreio dos Bandeirantes was once a thriving ecosystem for these animals but has now become a dumping site for the community’s garbage.
“Like many other species, caimans live through a serious problem in Rio de Janeiro metropolitan region and, in particular, in this region,” biologist Mario Moscatelli said.
“There has been a historic deterioration in the last four decades where ecosystems where these animals feed themselves, reproduce themselves, and live, were eliminated. There is this water pollution due to big quantities of wastewater,” Moscatelli added.
In addition to pollution, caimans are also threatened by illegal hunting in the nearby lake Jacarepaguá in Rio de Janeiro. Authorities, trying to fight hunting in the area, believe caimans are targeted for human consumption; the animals are often caught using traps.
Moscatelli warns humans against eating meat from caimans living in polluted waters: “Whoever is consuming this meat is taking a risk because the toxin that’s produced by cyanobacteria is not eliminated when fried or boiled or in any meat treatment.”