Colombian government starts sterilising 'Cocaine Hippos' from Pablo Escobar's private zoo
- These hippopotamuses are also called as "cocaine hippos"
- These hippos had bred so successfully that they had spread out from their original home
- The Colombian government has so far sterilized 24 hippos
In a recent development, a group of rampant hippopotamuses, introduced by the late Colombia drug lord Pablo Escobar to his private zoo, are being sterilized by the country's wildlife services, after mounting concern that the 80-strong herd presented a potential environmental disaster as an invasive species.
These hippopotamuses, also called as "cocaine hippos", whose number has more than doubled since 2012, were sterilized after worries have mounted over their environmental impact, including a threat to human safety, The Guardian reported.
The decision to neutralize the herd's breeding potential comes after a study earlier this year concluded that the animals had become a hazard. The hippos, which were originally introduced to Escobar’s Hacienda Napoles estate, are one of the most enduring legacies of the notorious cocaine trafficker, who was killed by police in 1993.
The study, by researchers at Mexican and Colombian universities, found that these hippos had bred so successfully that they had spread out from their original home.
The study, published in the journal Biological Conservation, recommended the herd be culled. But others promoted sterilization, citing animal rights concerns and support for the African interlopers that have become a tourist attraction.
Meanwhile, the Colombian government has so far sterilized 24 using a chemical that makes them infertile.
After Escobar’s death, the hippos were left to their own devices at Hacienda Napoles because they proved too difficult to capture and transport. They soon began expanding into the surrounding region.
The Biological Conservation study cited research on the negative effect of hippo faeces on oxygen levels in bodies of water, which can affect fish and ultimately humans. The journal also raised concerns about the transmission of diseases from hippos to humans.