Skip to comments.Pablo Escobarís Hippos: A Growing Problem
Posted on 06/30/2014 10:15:53 AM PDT by nickcarraway
A herd of hippopotamuses once owned by the late Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar has been taking over the countryside near his former ranch - and no-one quite knows what to do with them.
It was in 2007, 14 years after Escobar's death, that people in rural Antioquia, 200 miles north-west of Bogota, began phoning the Ministry of Environment to report sightings of a peculiar animal.
"They found a creature in a river that they had never seen before, with small ears and a really big mouth," recalls Carlos Valderrama, from the charity Webconserva.
He went to look, and found himself faced with the task of explaining to startled villagers that this was an animal from Africa. A hippopotamus.
"The fishermen, they were all saying, 'How come there's a hippo here?'" he recalls. "We started asking around and of course they were all coming from Hacienda Napoles. Everything happened because of the whim of a villain."
He smuggled in elephants, giraffes and other exotic animals, among them four hippos - three females and one male. And with a typically grand gesture, he allowed the public to wander freely around the zoo. Buses filled with schoolchildren passed under a replica of the propeller plane that carried Escobar's first US-bound shipments of cocaine.
(Excerpt) Read more at bbc.com ...
How many are there now?
I’ve always wanted to get some life sized concrete hippos and place them in the water in front of the house.
One hippo would feed a village for a while, I bet...
‘Nobody knows how many there are. The local environmental authority, which bears responsibility for them, estimates between 50 and 60, with most living in the lake at the park. But 12 are known to have paddled past the flimsy fence and into the nearby Magdalena River - and maybe many more.
‘Here, conditions for hippos are idyllic. The river is slow moving and has plenty of shallows, perfect for larger animals which don’t actually swim but push themselves off banks, gliding through the water. Moreover, the region never experiences drought, which tends to act as a natural brake on the size of herds in Africa.
‘How much the hippos like Colombia can be judged from how much sex they are having. In Africa they usually become sexually active between the ages of seven and nine for males, and nine and 11 for females, but Pablo Escobar’s hippos are becoming sexually active as young as three. All the fertile females are reported to be giving birth to a calf every year.’
I've got a floating alligator head in the pond. People driving by do a double take. The paint has worn off it so it's a drab gray and not scary anymore. The red eyes don't light up anymore either. They were pretty ominous at night.
I took a trip to the Amazon back in 2006 and went by Escobar’s old home. The smaller tributaries are not easily accessible and that is likely where they went to.
Apparently conditions down there are lush compared to Africa.
As members (BIG members) of the deer family—they should be good eating!
read #6. South America is heaven compared to Africa for a hippo, they start reproducing much younger.
They’re probably better or worse depending on their diet, age, etc.
Offer a worthwhile bounty. It might get some hunters killed, but some would get rich.
Or, just learn to love your new “native” ruminant species.
I feel it's my duty to do my part for the environment, you know.
If G-d didn’t want their to be hippos in Colombia, He wouldn’t have sent a drug dealer to bring them there.
That country is going to have to decide how many hippo’s they are willing to tolerate and then issue hunting licenses for anything above that
Hippo, meet piranha.
I think I read once that more people were killed by Hippos in Africa than by any other animal. Whether that’s true or not, I am sure that mosquitoes and files kill several orders of magnitude more.
do they taste like chicken?
I believe that is true. People in South America who work or play on the river are going to start dying soon. Those are mean sumbiches.
Valderrama doesn’t recommend eating the meat, in case it is infected with a transmittable disease - one dead hippo was found to be carrying leptospirosis which can cause meningitis - but he does see the complete elimination of male hippos as the most practical solution.
Test the meat before eating, get your meningitis vaccines ...
True, if you eliminate all males, the females will eventually die of old age, issue gone. Or vice-versa.
Craigslist. Just sayin'.
LOL! “Move to Colombia and marry me, citizenship guaranteed!”
“Hippos seeking hippos” - I mean, y’ever been to Walmart on Saturday afternoon?
Great. Columbia has a bunch of inbred hippos running loose.
Can narcohippos mate with regular old hippos?
That, or they'll move in together, start wearing plaid flannel shirts, carry their oversized wallets on chains connected to their belt loops, and get jobs as democrat cabinet secretaries.
One assumes ... it can only be a generation or two since they were imported from Africa, too soon for much genetic drift.
This could be a wonderful tourism opportunity for Colombia. And one of those hippos may be the next World Cup goalie.
Colombia already has eco-tourists. As South American countries go, your risk of violent death or ghastly disease isn’t all that bad there, if you’re careful. Tourists might pay a little extra for the opportunity to see hippos in their ideal habitat.
Colombia is a big country, for a place that isn’t China/Russia/Canada/US/Brazil. You can probably arrange a tour with plenty of jungle, even a few hippos, but no FARC. Just get an up-to-date map!
But we can still get together for a little "Hippo-Bump!"
(Has anyone seen Chet?)
I thought it said hippies.
[though my suggestion would have been the same]
I don’t know what he knows about infected meat, but that guy was one great midfielder. His passing and distributing of the ball was outstanding.
“I want a hippopotamus for Christmas. Only a hippopatomus will do...”
The little girl who sings that song would be glad to take one off their hands. :)
The drug trade have largely left the Colombian Amazon area. You will still see AK47s in Leticia but it is to guard the gemstone trade. It was very peaceful during my stay there.
Hippos are the most dangerous vertebrates in Africa in terms of numbers of people killed. Insects, as you note, beat them by a fair margin, but are not vertebrates.