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Pablo Escobar’s Horny Cocaine Hippos Sterilised Over Environmental Concerns

by : Julia Banim on : 18 Oct 2021 14:03
Pablo Escobar’s Horny Cocaine Hippos Sterilised Over Environmental ConcernsAlamy

Pablo Escobar’s horny herd of ‘cocaine hippos’ are now being sterilised over environmental concerns.

The notorious drug lord, who died in 1993, had illegally imported four hippos to add to his illicit zoo back in the 1980s, along with a variety of other exotic creatures.

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Although Escobar is now long gone, the descendants of these hippos have continued to thrive to this very day, taking over rivers and lakes around his sprawling former Hacienda Nápoles estate in Puerto Triunfo.

Hippo (Alamy)Alamy

The hippo population has since boomed to more than 80 descendants. Conservationists have previously estimated that – if they were allowed to continue breeding at the same raucous rate – this figure would reach around 1,400 by 2039.

As an ‘invasive species’ without any natural predators to keep numbers down, the hippos – which now dominate the ecosystem of Puerto Triunfo – have sparked environmental concerns within the country of Colombia.

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Not only does the hungry herd sap resources from local indigenous wildlife, but their toxic poop has also posed a significant problem; with their faeces causing toxic algae to grow within the local rivers, cutting off oxygen supplies for native fish.

Pablo Escobar (Alamy)Alamy

As reported by BBC News, the Colombian government are now working to sterilise the 3,000 lb animals, with 24 of more than 80 animals having so far been treated with a chemical to make them infertile.

This comes after many people have campaigned for the burgeoning hippo population to be either culled or sterilised, with an ecology study published back in January suggesting culling might be the best option out of the two.

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Speaking to Vice back in June, study co-author Nataly Castelblanco-Martínez said:

For me what is necessary here is to protect and preserve the integrity of our ecosystem over an exotic species, even if this exotic species is super charismatic and super cute.

However, the suggestion of a cull understandably sparked some controversy especially given that the animals have proven to be somewhat of a money-maker tourism-wise, with their enduring popularity fuelling several safari tours and hospitality services in Medellín.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Animals, cocaine, Environment

Credits

BBC News and 1 other
  1. BBC News

    Drug lord Pablo Escobar's herd of 'cocaine hippos' sterilized to stop them wreaking environmental havoc

  2. Vice News

    Pablo Escobar’s ‘Cocaine Hippos’ Won’t Stop Having Sex and Pooping