Pablo Escobar's 'Cocaine Hippos' Breeding Out of Control
20:10 GMT 16.10.2021 (Updated: 04:02 GMT 17.10.2021)
© Photo : Pixabay/karlins_u A hippo in the park of the Kingdom of Eswatini (Swaziland) in southern Africa.
© Photo : Pixabay/karlins_u
The Colombian government has begun sterilising dozens of hippos once owned by late drug lord Pablo Escobar, amid environmental concerns as an invasive species.
The so-called "cocaine hippos" introduced by Esocbar to his private zoo, have grown from a herd of 35 in 2012 to 80 this year, and were thought to be the largest outside Africa.
Out of the 80 hippos, 24 have reportedly already been treated with a chemical that makes them infertile.
The overly-fertile descendants could potentially take over the country's marshlands and pose a threat to Colombia's natural wildlife since their urine and faeces are toxic, according to scientists.
Pablo Escobar, the kingpin of the world's largest cocaine empire in the 1980s, collected a range of illegally imported animals at his estate in Colombia, which included hippos, kangaroos, giraffes, elephants, and other exotic creatures.
10 February 2021, 09:59 GMT
In 1993, after Escobar's reign came to an end when he was shot dead by authorities, one male and three female hippos escaped from his 7,000-acre jungle hacienda between Medellin and Bogota.
"It was logistically difficult to move them around, so the authorities just left them there, probably thinking the animals would die", Colombian biologist Nataly Castelblanco reportedly told the BBC earlier this year.
Since then, the hippo population has grown and taken over the countryside.
Scientists warn that their numbers could soon be impossible to control and their environmental impact will be irreversible.