NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Witnesses captured a man on video throwing eels into Prospect Park Lake in Brooklyn. The man got away, but wildlife experts are hoping many take away an important message from the illegal activity.
“Yo, you’re not supposed to be dumping eels here, dude,” Dominick Pabon said as he approached the man on Sunday night. He said alerted the man that his actions were against the law.
“That’s not legal,” Pabon says on a video he shot on his cellphone.
“I save life,” the man responds.
“No, you’re not. You’re killing other life in here,” Pabon responds.
Pabon fishes often, as he was doing with his wife when he first heard the commotion at around 7:30 p.m.
“Out of nowhere this lady was screaming ‘Snakes! Snakes!’ and I turned around and I knew because I fish that it was eels and they were all about a foot, foot and a half,” Pabon told CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis on Tuesday.
CBS2 also spoke to Andrew Orkin, who said he was running in the park when he witnessed a man dressed in all white dumping the eels.
“The guy had two big black contractor bags that were filled with eels,” Orkin said.
“How many do you think were there?” DeAngelis asked.
“Easily more than 100 and they were all alive. So, he started unpacking them into the water and that’s when we confronted him,” Orkin said.
“My initial reaction was to stop it because I fish there and I’ve caught eels here and they’re not native to the lake and I wanted to prevent this from happening,” Pabon said.
Both men, concerned about the impact this could have on the 55-acre lake, called the police.
“These eels, someone who thinks they’re rescuing them and saving them, they’re an invasive species from further down the country,” said Marty Woess, a wildlife and aquatic technician from the Prospect Park Alliance. “They probably won’t survive the winter, our colder winters, so what they’re doing is signing a death warrant to the animal.”
Woess went on to explain why introducing a non-native species into the lake is illegal.
“You introduce a disease into the human body, that breaks down the whole native system. You introduce an invasive species here that turns the whole table of the lake. It can change the whole being of the lake,” said Woess.
The wildlife expert said the takeaway is if you ever have an animal you want to give up, you should bring it to an animal organization. You should never bring it to a lake.
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