Pablo Escobar’s ‘drug hippos’ present big danger and ‘should be chosen’

    Pablo Escobar's hippopotami pose a major threat to locals and indigenous flora and fauna leaving experts no option but to cull them before they devastate the countryside, warn scientists.

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    The unlawfully imported hippos for the drug kingpin’s personal zoo are creating chaos, state professionals (Picture: AP/Getty)

    Pablo Escobar’s ‘cocaine hippopotami’ present a significant danger to residents and native biodiversity leaving professionals no alternative however to choose them prior to they ravage the location, alert researchers.

    One of Escobar’s most elegant programs of his 1980s drug-trafficking empire was his stretching Colombian palace, where he accumulated a range of unlawfully imported unique animals such as kangaroos, giraffes, elephants and hippos for his own personal zoo.

    When Escobar – among the world’s most respected drug kingpins – was shot by cops in 1993, the majority of the animals at his glamorous Hacienda Nápoles passed away or were re-homed.

    But the hippos were deserted at the 5,500-acre estate due to the expense and logistical problems of carrying the 3-tonne animals in the middle of violence that wrecked the nation at the time.

    They have actually given that ended up being a source of unlimited debate – just like their previous owner – in the Antioquia countryside, east of the city of Medellín.

    Government tries to manage their recreation have actually had no genuine influence on population development, with the variety of hippos increasing in the last 8 years from 35 to in between 65 and 80.

    A warning sign that reads 'Hippopotamus presence' is seen on September 24, 2018 in Doradal, Colombia.

    A cautioning indication reading ‘danger presence of hippopotamus’ in Doradal, Colombia (Picture: Getty)

    Hippos swim in the lake at Hacienda Napoles Park, once the private estate of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar who imported three female hippos and one male decades ago in Puerto Triunfo, Colombia, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.

    Experts are worried the hippos present a significant danger to residents and the environment (Picture: AP)

    Scientists anticipate that the number might reach around 1,500 by 2035 if absolutely nothing is done, stated a research study released in the journal Biological Conservation in January. The hippos began as 3 women and one male in the 1980s.

    The professionals alert the hippos present a substantial danger to the location’s biodiversity and might result in fatal encounters in between the huge animals and people.

    Nataly Castelblanco-Martinez, ecologist at the University of Quintana Roo in Mexico and lead author of the group’s research study, stated: ‘I believe that it is one of the greatest challenges of invasive species in the world.’

    The group of professionals stated the Government’s effort to keep down numbers by sterilising some hippos doesn’t go far enough and some should be eliminated. Unlike in their native Africa, they have no natural predators in Colombia.

    Ms Castelblanco-Martinez stated: ‘Everyone asks, “Why is this happening?”

    ‘Well, imagine a town of 50 people and you perform a vasectomy on one man and in two years on another man, obviously, that is not going to control the reproduction of the entire population.’

    A pink statue of a hippo greets tourists at Hacienda Napoles Park in Puerto Triunfo, Colombia, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021. Hacienda Napoles was once a private zoo with illegally imported animals that belonged to drug trafficker Pablo Escobar.

    Hacienda Nápoles was when a personal zoo with unlawfully imported animals that came from drug trafficker Pablo Escobar (Picture: AP)

    The researchers started dealing with the hippo population projection in 2015 after among the animals went after and badly hurt a farmer.

    Another research study performed in 2015 by scientists at the University of California, San Diego, discovered the hippos are altering the quality of the water in which they invest much of their time and defecate.

    As their population continues to grow, they might wind up displacing native animals like the Antillean manatees, Ms Castelblanco-Martinez stated.

    But lots of have actually long been highly opposed to the concept of choosing the hippos.

    More than a years back, a hunter eliminated one hippo after 3 of them roamed from the Escobar estate creating chaos in the location.

    The killing triggered fantastic public protest after a picture emerged revealing hunters posturing with the hippo as a prize, leading the Government to present a restriction on searching hippos.

    Medellin drugs cartel leader Pablo Escobar

    Most of Escobar’s unique animals were re-homed after he was eliminated in the early 90s (Picture: AFP)

    Locals are stated to have actually accepted the hippos, with some benefiting off them due to the travelers they bring in, while main school trainees are accustomed to strolling previous indications reading: ‘Danger – hippopotamus present.’

    This is regardless of hippos eliminating more individuals annually in Africa than any other wildlife types.

    David Echeverri-Lopez, a scientist at the local ecological company which supervises the hippos, stated: ‘About 10 years back, we understood that we have a huge population of hippopotamuses.

    ‘We began to learn how the population was constituted, to see if there was an immediate solution. We really began to realise the dimensions of the problem.’

    Although Mr Echeverri-Lopez concurred that eliminating a few of the hippos would be the very best option, he stated the animals’ magnetic character and Government guideline might never ever enable it.

    Hippos float in the lake at Hacienda Napoles Park, once the private estate of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar who imported three female hippos and one male decades ago in Puerto Triunfo, Colombia

    Experts think there might be 1,500 hippos in the location by 2035 (Picture: AP)

    He stated the environment company has actually performed 10 sterilisations and re-homed 4 young hippos to Colombian zoos, and while other places abroad have actually revealed interest, governmental bureaucracy has actually obstructed.

    This year, the company wishes to have the ability to begin performing a kind of chemical sterilisation that has actually dealt with pigs.

    Currently, sterilising the animals is an intricate procedure costing around $8,500 per animal.

    First, an animal should be deceived into going into a substantial metal confine to be sedated. Then a group of wildlife professionals should invest about 3 hours cutting through the animal’s thick skin to attempt and discover its reproductive organs.

    Gina Serna-Trujillo, a veterinarian who has actually performed a few of the sterilisations, stated: ‘The neighborhood watches on us to ensure that we are really sterilising [the hippo] and refraining from doing anything else. They enjoy them.’

    No treatments were performed in 2020 since of the coronavirus pandemic.

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