Colombia Finally Has a Plan for Escobar's Hippos

At least half will be shipped to India and Mexico, and more will go elsewhere later
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2023 2:28 PM CST
Some of Escobar's Hippos Now Have Travel Plans
Hippos float in the lake at Hacienda Napoles Park, once the private estate of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, in Puerto Triunfo, Colombia, in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara, File)

Colombia plans to round up about half of Pablo Escobar's famous hippos and ship them out of the country. Wildlife authorities in the nation say they have struck a deal to fly a total of about 70 hippos to sanctuaries and zoos in India and Mexico, reports the Washington Post. That would account for roughly half of Colombia's now-wild hippos, whose numbers have been surging. By one estimate, published in the journal Nature, the population could reach 1,500 in 20 years if no measures are taken, per CNN.

The late drug lord Escobar imported one male and three female hippos to his ranch in the 1980s, and authorities let them roam free when Escobar surrendered in 1991. The booming population has since become an environmental threat and a tourist attraction, notes the AP. Wildlife officials in Colombia also have been trying to capture and sterilize the hippos, but they haven't been able to keep up. Future shipments may see hippos sent to Ecuador, the Philippines, and Botswana. (Read more Pablo Escobar stories.)

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