Colombia’s wild hippos, once owned by drug lord Pablo Escobar, have raised concerns among conservationists and government officials as their numbers continue to grow.
Escobar introduced hippos from Medellin to his private zoo in the 1980s, but after his death in 1993, they were left unattended. Hippos, not native to Colombia, have since colonized the country’s rivers and lakes, growing their numbers from four to at least 130 now.
According to local authorities, while the hippos have become a popular tourist attraction, they have also caused environmental problems and concerns among residents. An article in the journal Nature has issued a warning that the population of the hippos could reach 1,500 in the next 20 years.
The issue of managing the population of hippos in Colombia has been a challenge for the government, with previous attempts such as castration and contraceptive injections having limited success. One proposed solution is to relocate around 70 hippos, comprising of both males and females, to other countries such as India and Mexico. However, some experts have expressed concerns about the potential environmental consequences of introducing non-native species to new habitats.
Sources : CGTN