It’s been 29 years since Colombian law enforcement murdered the famous drug lord following his daring escape from prison. But even after his death, Pablo Escobar’s legacy continues to immortalize local residents as well as the nation’s flora and fauna.
Hippos smuggled into Colombia in the 1980’s by drug legend Pablo Escobar now face culling after local authorities added them to a list of invasive species, said David Echeverri López, biologist and head of the Cornare state environmental agency.
Colombian authorities pledged to “manage” the hippos’ population, which burgeoned from 35 in 2012 to somewhere between 65 and 80. David Echeverri says in the coming decades this number may balloon to several hundred.
African Hippos may be adorable, but hippopotamuses are one of the most dangerous animals in the world. According to the National Geographic, they kill an estimated 500 people in Africa every year.
It is impossible to control their population, as hippos live in an area where there are no predators hunting them. In turn they pose a real threat to native species, especially those that have been listed as endangered, like Antillean manatees.
It’s not only their size and temper that has caused great nuisance, but their “toxic” poo. Hippos spend most of the day in lakes and waterways and, well, do their twos in there too.
The feces, or rather the ammonia, pollute the water and starve it of oxygen, which in turn creates more pollution and sucks more oxygen from the water, consequently killing fish and other aquatic animals.
Attempts have been made to sterilize the hippos, but the measure proved costly and difficult. Shooting them with contraceptives didn’t have any effect either, with their population continuing to grow.
Earlier this year, environmentalists proposed to create a sanctuary for the animals, which could have been funded by taxpayer and private funds, but the proposal was rejected as costly and harmful.
They cannot be sent back to Africa either, because the population is inbred and they may have diseases that would endanger African fauna.
However, Colombia is such a big country, with a enormous natural habitat, that the endangered Hippos do not pose any threat to the environment.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2022.