PABLO Escobar’s infamous “cocaine hippos” are now being culled by the Colombian government.
The four that escaped from Escobar’s private zoo 30 years ago rapidly multiplied and have since spiralled out of control.
There are now 170 of them roaming around the country, and they have proven difficult to catch.
After years of wreaking havoc, Colombia’s Environment Minister Susana Muhamad has now announced that they will be culling some of the beasts.
In a statement released on November 2, Muhamad said that at least 20 of them will be sterilised this year.
Others are going to be transferred abroad, to countries like India or the Philippines, and some would be euthanised.
Muhamad said: “The first stage of this management plan begins, which next week will show the sterilisation phase of hippos in Colombia.
“Sterilisation is not the only strategy, nor will it be enough. We cannot control populations with sterilisations alone.
“The procedure is complex and expensive, between six and seven hours for each individual.
“It has a follow-up stage for each individual. It has risks for doctors and the animal. In any case, there is expertise in the country.
“We seek to implement this plan in the shortest time possible, precisely so that the impacts cease.”
The Colombian Ministry of Environment expects that the total number of “cocaine hippos” would rise from 170 to 1000 by 2035 if their breeding continues at this rate.
Not indigenous to Colombia, hippos were first introduced to the country by the notorious drug kingpin.
Escobar, head of the Medellin cartel, amassed an estimated $30 billion dollars smuggling cocaine into Miami.
His reign as the “cocaine king” saw hundreds of kidnappings, murders, bombings, and even a brief stint as an elected politician before he became one of the most-wanted men on the planet.
After a brief stint in a prison he had built himself, he went on the run, and was eventually shot dead on a rooftop in Rionegro, Medellin in 1993.
Following his death, the enclosure his hippos were kept in, on his massive Hacienda Napoles estate in Puerto Triunfo, became a tourist attraction, and the aggressive animals have been roaming free since.
Although some researchers have claimed that by importing that animals Escobar helped to bring a lost diversity into the ecosystem, they have been causing terror throughout Colombia.
One mother remembers seeing a hippo emerge from a river while her children were playing nearby.
She said: “Hearing the screams of the children is something I will never forget.
“It was huge, a monster. It would have killed any of the children in an instant.
“It is only a matter of time before Pablo effectively takes another life.”
The ferocious animals are estimated to kill more than 500 people each year in Africa. That’s five times as many as lions.
SOURCE : https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/24623958/pablo-escobars-cocaine-hippos-face-being-shot-dead/