The "Cocaine Hippos" by drug lord Pablo Escobar are now being sterilized by Colombia's wildlife services after the 80-strong herd presented a potential danger not only to the country's environment but also to its people

A Herd Infertile Cocaine Hippos

A group of rampant hippopotamuses, which were introduced by the late Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar in his private zoo, are now considered as an invasive species.

According to The Guardian, the so-called "Cocaine Hippos," whose number has more than doubled since 2012, were sterilized after Colombian authorities worried about the environmental impact brought by the animal, including a threat to human safety.

Based on the report by The Guardian, the decision to neutralize the herd's breeding potential came after the conclusion of a study earlier this year that pointed out that the "Cocaine Hippos" had become a hazard.

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The Cocaine Hippos in Hacienda Napoles Through the Years

The "Cocaine Hippos," were originally introduced to Pablo Escobar's Hacienda Napoles estate. The estate of the Colombian drug lord was considered as one of the most enduring legacies of the notorious cocaine trafficker. Pablo Escobar was killed by police in 1993.

The study that prompted the sterilization of the hippos was made by researchers at several Mexican and Colombian universities. The researchers from the two countries found out that the hippos had bred so successfully that they had spread out from their original home.

Moreover, the hippos were found nearly 100 miles east of the city of Medellín, in the Antioquia department, dispersing around the Magdalena river basin. The spread-out population of the hippos was considered a major invasive species.

The said study was published in the journal Biological Conservation. The researchers recommended that the herd of the hippos should be culled.

However, other researchers recommended and promoted sterilization, citing animal rights concerns and support for the African interlopers that have become a tourist attraction that local people feel affection for.

Meanwhile, earlier this year, a biologist at Colombia's National University, Enrique Zerda Ordóñez, stated that chemical castration was the only way forward and acknowledged that sterilizing a hippo was not an easy task to do.

Based on the latest update this week, the Colombian government has so far sterilized 24 hippos using a chemical that makes them infertile.

After the death of Pablo Escobar, the hippos were left to their own devices at Hacienda Napoles because they proved too difficult to capture and transport. They soon started to expand into the surrounding region until it recently posed threat and danger to the safety of people living nearby.

Furthermore, whether the new drive to curb the herd of the "Cocaine Hippos" would be successful, the hippos apparently were already well-adapted to their new South American home even at a cost to native species.

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 regarding the transmission of diseases from hippos to humans.

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This article is owned by Latin Post.

Written by: Jess Smith

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