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How Pablo Escobar’s ‘cocaine hippos’ became a biodiversity nightmare | News

Myths and legends proceed to encompass Colombia’s most infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar 26 years after his loss of life. However his legacy has had an unexpectedly disastrous impression on a number of the nation’s fragile ecosystems. A herd of greater than 80 hippos roam free, the descendants of animals smuggled to Colombia from Africa within the Nineteen Eighties and now flourishing within the wild.

Reporter Joe Parkin Daniels tells Michael Safi that when Escobar was shot useless by police on a rooftop in his hometown of Medellín, the authorities seized his property and the animals on it. Whereas most had been shipped to zoos, the logistics of transferring his 4 hippos proved insurmountable they usually had been left to wander the Andes.

Now the out-of-control hippos have develop into a significant issue and the answer authorities have determined upon is a mass sterilisation programme.

Gina Paola Serna tells Michael that having studied to develop into a biologist and a vet, she by no means anticipated to in the future be tasked with neutering an invasive herd of hippos that after belonged to Escobar. She says whereas they’re a downside for the surroundings, the Colombian folks have taken the hippos into their hearts and have additional sophisticated the nation’s relationship with Escobar’s legacy.

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A Colombian hippo. Photograph: by Juancho Torres/Anadolu Agency via Getty

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{Photograph}: Anadolu Company/Getty Photographs

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