Drug Lord Pablo Escobar’s Hippos May Be Culled to Prevent Overpopulation and Serious Damage

We reported a little while ago on drug lord Pablo Escobar’s decision to bring hippopotami to Colombia to populate a private ranch. Now some of the progeny of the dead drug lord’s hippos may have to be killed to contain the damage he caused.

nature water animal playing
Massive and aggressive, introduced hippos are causing an enviromental debate in Colombia as their numbers grow.. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

During his career, which ended in a police shootout in 1994, the drug lord amassed a fortune. Like many wealthy people he chose to start a private zoo at his mansion. After he died, the majority of the animals were relocated to shelters. But not the hippos.

The large intractable animals imported from Africa were simply left to fend for themselves in the local river. They did so successfully. With no enemies and a comfortable river system, the animals thrived.

gray and white sea creature
Manatees are far gentler creatures Droppings from hippos may change the chemistry of the rivers in Colombia and threaten them. s Photo by Koji Kamei on Pexels.com

Hippos are also dangerous. The giants. are aggressive and kill about 500 people per year in Africa. The most dangerous land mammal on the continent, they can attack watercraft and on land run at almost 20 mph. So far, no one has been killed or seriously injured in Colombia. There have been three recorded confrontations so the danger of death is real.

hippo with open mouth eating grass in zoo
A bad temper and powerful jaws make hippos dangerous, Photo by Mehmet Turgut Kirkgoz on Pexels.com

Scientists say that killing some of them may be necessary. Select sterilization is a possibility. All of the identified options are expensive and pose dangers to both animals and people. The fact that many Colombians like the animals complicates the issue. To complicate the issue further, a US judge recently declared the hippos have human rights, but the impact of the ruling is expected to be nil. Colombia is not bound by the ruling and is not expected to follow it.

Published by ursusrising

long time writer and editor living in Los Angeles

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