Hippos arrived in Colombia by Pablo Escobar, who introduced a couple from Africa into his personal zoo | Photo: Emelyne/Pixabay (illustrative image)
Colombia will euthanize some of former cocaine baron Pablo Escobar’s 166 hippos that are reproducing without control, Colombia’s Environment Minister said on Thursday (2), as she began the government’s plan to curb the reproduction of these animals.
According to Susana Muhamad, the sacrifice of mammals that grow in the Magdalena River will be one of the authorities’ three measures to prevent damage caused by this invasive species, as well as sterilization and shipping to other countries.
“The first stage of this management plan has begun, which, next week, will include the sterilization phase of hippos in Colombia,” he said at a press conference. The minister expects at least 20 to occur this year.
Without revealing the number, Muhamad added that they will apply euthanasia “to a part of the population”, although he did not specify when this process would begin.
Others will be sent to Mexico, India and the Philippines, which have shown themselves open to receiving some species. The government is still working on the necessary permits for the transfers.
Hippos arrived in Colombia on the mere whim of Pablo Escobar, who introduced a couple from Africa into his personal zoo at Fazenda Nápoles, in the Magdalena Medio region (north-central).
After the death of the then largest drug trafficker in the world, at the hands of the police in 1993, and the official intervention on his properties, the mammals became helpless and began to reproduce. Some attacked fishermen on the country’s most important river.
Currently, there are a record number of 166 hippos and, according to calculations by the Ministry of the Environment, by 2035 there could be 1,000, if their reproduction is not stopped. (AFP)
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