The best known and most wanted narcotics trafficker, Pablo Escobar, twenty-nine years old on December 2, 1993, was shot to death in Medellin, a Colombian city, during an escape. At the peak of his career as a narcotics trafficker, Escobar controlled 80 percent of the cocaine entering America and was one of the richest men on the planet. With the money from his criminal actions, he bought luxury items, real estate, cars, and even exotic animals, such as hippos.
With a distinct desire to buy animals to build a private zoo, Escobar invested more than five million dollars in the purchase of several animals that you can find in a conventional zoo, and among them were four hippopotamuses that would stay at Hacienda Naples, a farm he owned. These hippos were brought from Africa and became known as the "cocaine hippos".
Sometime later, the animals escaped from the farm where they lived and started to reproduce in an insane and uncontrolled way in the region. A picture in which four escaped hippos turned into more than 130 animals. This damage caused major environmental impacts, as species native to the area were displaced, the chemical composition of the Magdalena River was altered, the death rates of different animals increased, and of course attacks on human beings also began to occur.
Almost three decades after the incident, the population of the species is located in the surroundings of Pablo Escobar's farm and is the largest hippopotamus population outside of Africa with more than 70 animals. In 2009, the Colombian government tried to kill the animals, but due to a worldwide commotion against the action, the government decided to abort the mission. But for the population to grow, the agents began to sterilize them, which is not very efficient due to the speed with which they reproduce and the large number.
Recently declared an invasive species in Colombia, the hippos are threatening agriculture and the safety of nearby residents more than ever. As well as the impact of the hippos' waste on oxygen levels in water bodies, which can reduce water quality and cause mass fish kills. "We are looking to save the lives of the hippos, but also protect the lives of the people in the Magdalena Medio region," said Anibal Gaviria, governor of the Department of Antioquia.
The Colombian government and environmental authorities have decided that the animals will be relocated as soon as possible. The issuing of "hippo passports" is being arranged, and the transfer will take place before the first half of the year is over. They will go to an overseas sanctuary. According to The Guardian, the authorities will transport 10 animals to the Ostok sanctuary in Mexico and the rest to a facility in India.
The damage that Pablo Escobar has cost with his animals, is almost four million dollars. The authorities will carry out the operation by planning to lure them with live animal lures, which will be placed in enclosures for their capture. They will then be confined and later transferred to special crates for the transfer of live cargo.
edited by Palak Chauhan
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