Pablo Escobar's Escaped Hippos
January 21, 2018, 09:31 AM
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From National Geographic:

Pablo Escobar’s Escaped Hippos Are Thriving in Colombia

Can the dangerous animals be stopped from taking over more territory?

By Brian Clark Howard


It is perhaps fitting that invasive hippos, with their “hungry, hungry” reputations, would be the lasting legacy of one of the world’s most notorious drug lords. Colombia’s Pablo Escobar built an empire on cocaine that made him one of the richest, and most feared, people in the world.

… One of those “benefits” was the invitation for locals to visit his private zoo, which Escobar built in the early 1980s on his leafy ranch Hacienda Napoles, about halfway between Medellin and Bogota. …

Natives of Africa, three females and one male hippo were left to their own devices in the ranch’s pond. With mild weather and no competition, the hippos thrived. Over time, some of the animals began to venture away from the pond, into nearby rivers and the surrounding areas. Villagers grew concerned about the large animals, which have a reputation for being dangerous.

I was surprised to learn that hippos aren’t actually tutu-wearing ballet enthusiasts as I had assumed, but are highly dangerous, just like in Jon Voight movies.
… In the lake at the Hacienda Napoles there are between 26 and 28 hippos. There, they find food, water, and tranquility.

We also have evidence that small groups of hippos or solitary individuals have migrated through the Magdalena River to other areas, including Puerto Berrio and Boyaca. There may be as many as 40 hippos total in the area. Within 10 years that could grow to nearly 100, if we don’t manage them.

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