‘Invasive species’: Colombia s

Image via Twitter @Net_Haber

‘Invasive species’: Colombia sterilises Pablo Escobar’s ‘cocaine hippos’

Hippos on drug lord Pablo Escobar’s former Hacienda Napoles estate have been sterilised by Colombia authorities as they are breeding out of control.

‘Invasive species’: Colombia s

Image via Twitter @Net_Haber

A total of 24 out of 80 hippopotamuses roaming on the former ranch of the late Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar were sterilised due to the “uncontrolled” spreading of this “invasive” species, authorities said on Friday.

Before he was shot dead by police in 1993, the notorious Escobar had purchased a number of exotic animals to live on his ranch, including flamingos, giraffes, zebras and kangaroos. After his death, all but the hippopotamuses were sold to zoos.

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Escobar originally acquired a single male and female hippos.

They were left to roam on his Hacienda Napoles estate, which has since been converted into a theme park, as they were considered too large to try to move, but since then their numbers have multiplied.

The hippos were shot with darts to inject them with a medicine called GonaCon, according to a bulletin by Cornare, a regional environmental protection organisation in the northwest of Colombia.

“It’s a contraceptive that is effective in males and females” and cheaper than surgical sterilization, said Cornare.

“However, it’s complicated because experts suggest giving three doses.” 

Another 11 hippos were previously sterilised by more traditional means.


Experts believe this to be the largest herd of hippopotamuses outside of Africa and it has led to problems.

“The presence of these animals in an ecosystem that is not their own, brings consequences such as the displacement of local fauna,” said David Echeverri, a Cornare expert quoted in the bulletin.

The hippos are also responsible for “changing ecosystems” and attacks on local fishermen.

Escobar became one of the richest men on the planet, according to Forbes, thanks to the drug trafficking empire he built.

Almost 30 years since his death, Colombia remains the largest producer of cocaine in the world, much of it smuggled to the United States.

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