Lions, Tigers, Hippos and Other Colombian Drug Lord Pets

Deep in the Cali, Colombia slums, notorious drug lords keep dangerous animals as status symbols.
6:26 | 07/11/14

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Transcript for Lions, Tigers, Hippos and Other Colombian Drug Lord Pets
You're about to meet a woman who takes care of big, potentially dangerous animals, abandoned by or taken from drug kingpins. What they may have been used for is nothing short of shocking. Here's ABC's bob woodruff for our series "Off the map." Reporter: It's feeding time for two of Colombia's most feared animals. This one on the left is the man eater. Reporter: Bengal tigers, once owned by a paramilitary commander who allegedly used them to devour his enemies. Drug dealers were feeding them humans? Yes. Reporter: Can I feed him? Now, just steel bars separate me from the deadly 500 pound cats still adjusting to their new diet. Is it beef? Throw it over the top? Animals so dangerous, so unpredictable, even this is apparently too close. And that's what makes what you're about to see even more unbelievable. One of the most unusual zookeepers you'll ever meet. Getting right up close and very personal with some of the deadliest pets of Colombia's drug lords. Our journey into a strange, exotic world begins in the slums outside of Kali, Colombia, through winding dirt roads, finally to this giant steel gate. Our driver rings the doorbell. Revealing a world few people, let alone TV cameras, are ever allowed to see. A place teaming with more than 800 exotic animals. Welcome to the wild kingdom of Anna Julia Torrez, school principal turned animal rights crusader. The animals love her. It's the way they express their gratefulness to her. Reporter: That is something. Many have been rescued from the harsh world of circuses and animal trafficking. They take the flamingos into the airports and put them in there and smuggle them out of the country? But the most dangerous here are the forgotten victims of Colombia's never-ending drug wars. One-time status symbols left behind by the country's drug lords, after they were arrested or killed. If you did not do this, what would be happening to these animals? Translator: They would have to be killed. Reporter: She stops us to listen. Those are the cries of Jupiter. She is very, very in love with Jupiter. Reporter: A giant 500 pound lion who hasn't seen his new master in more than a week. As we move in closer to film the bizarre reunion, a warning from her cousin, die yego. I wouldn't dare go past there. Reporter: Don't you get afraid at all? No. Reporter: Not at all? How does it make you feel as a cousin putting her face right there in front of a dangerous animal the At the beginning I was worried. She's been taking care of them for so long, and I guess they feel the love, you know? Reporter: But even her love can't undo some of the damage that's been done. We're going to see a lion that used to belong to drug dealers. Th every time he will used to hear music, he would go wild, because he knew he was going to a party. He's unpredictable. Reporter: So you can't hug this one, can you? No. Lock look at his eyes, like he's gone on trip. Reporter: The drug dealers who kid this have yet to face charges. But if she could get her hands on them -- She would strangle them. Reporter: The police are here. Probably the environmental police. Reporter: But there's little time to think revenge around here. We'll see what they brought. What is it? Reporter: Inside, a large python found slithering through a neighborhood. Illegal pets. They have taken away many of these from photographers that use them to profit from taking pictures with people. Reporter: Has anybody gone to prison for this kind of torture of animals? There are laws, but they are not enforced. Reporter: While no animal has ever been shunned, she does refuse government financing. Everything is paid for with private donations. And food donated from local grocery stores. But there's something else here, far more valuable. When you give them love like that, do you think that their health, their condition gets better? While I'm not quite ready to test her theory on two hungry tigers at feeding time, it does seem a little love can go a long way. He loves me, too. For "Nightline," I'm bob woodruff in Kali, Colombia.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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