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.
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.
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.
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.