COLOMBIA- One of the most notorious and famous criminals of all time, he was the founder of the infamous Medellin cartel in the mid, responsible for bombings, kidnappings and indiscriminate assassinations. At one point he was considered to be one of the world’s richest men in the ’80s.
But the ‘King Of Cocaine’ is also responsible for what researchers call an ecological time-bomb.
A group of hippopotamus originally imported by Pablo to his own zoo years ago has multiplied. As per the scientists,it is now spreading through one of the nation’s main rivers- the River Magdalena. Early this month, a survey published in the Biological Conservation journal said killing the animals was the only way to reduce their environmental impact.
“We certainly feel sorry for these animals, but as scientists, we need to be sincere,” Nataly Castelblanco, one of the study’s authors, told USA Today. “Hippopotamus are an invading species in Colombia, and if we don’t kill a chunk of their population now, the situation could worsen in just 15 or 20 years.”
The increase of the so-called “cocaine hippos” began in 1994 after the government killed Pablo Escobar and confiscated his luxury estate Hacienda Napoles, about 260 km from the capital Bogota.
Animals found there were given to zoos across the nation, but not the hippos. “It was operationally hard to move them around, so the authorities just left them there, reckoning the animals would die,” Castelblanco said.
Throughout the years, scientists have tried to calculate how many hippos are living in Colombia’s rivers, with data ranging from 90 to 120 animals. “It is the largest hippo herd outside Africa, which is their home,” conservationist and veterinarian Carlos Valderrama told the USA Today.