Home World Some of Pablo Escobar’s hippos sterilized in Colombia

Some of Pablo Escobar’s hippos sterilized in Colombia

Twenty-four of the 80 hippos that colonized the waters of Pablo Escobar’s former property in Colombia were sterilized on Friday. Those in charge of the operation thus want to control the “uncontrolled” growth of this “invasive” species.

The hippos received an injection of Gonaco, an effective contraceptive regardless of the sex of the animal. The drug is “cheaper” than “surgical sterilization,” said Cornare, a regional environmental protection organization. Dart guns have been used on some animals, while others have been “baited and captured”.

Management of an invasive species

The operation is complex because it involves the administration of three doses. Supported financially and technically by the United States, the chemical castration operation lasted nearly a week. It has the ambition to become “a world reference for the control of an invasive population of hippos, a unique case on the planet”, according to Cornare. The first eleven individuals had already been sterilized in the traditional way.

This colony of 80 hippos, the largest outside Africa, is the direct offspring of a couple imported by Pablo Escobar. At the height of his fame, the drug trafficker wanted to add them to the zoo at his hacienda in Napoles, a hundred kilometers south of Medellín. When he died in 1993, the animals were left to fend for themselves along with the huge villa.

A still emblematic figure of Colombia

Flamingos, giraffes, zebras and other kangaroos were sold to zoos. Left behind without a predator, the hippos have multiplied, becoming a global attraction but above all an environmental problem and a threat to the inhabitants. Their presence has consequences, such as the displacement of local fauna, the modification of ecosystems and attacks on fishermen, explains an expert from Cornare.

Pablo Escobar, crime baron head of the Medellín cartel, was one of the richest men in the world according to Forbes. Almost thirty years after his death, he inevitably remains associated with Colombia. He deeply marked the imaginations of this country and the Colombians themselves. Despite its downfall and that of other drug lords, Colombia remains the world’s largest producer of cocaine and the United States its largest market.

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