The hippos, which belonged to Pablo Escobar’s Hacienda Napoles theme park, endanger the Colombian ecosystem, the scientists warn, adding that there is no other choice but to sacrifice them.
The population of hippos will increase to nearly 1,500 by 2040, says The Washington Post with reference to a scientific report in the journal Biological Conservation. By then, the environmental impact of these animals will be irreversible and their number will be impossible to control.
Meanwhile, neutering hippos does not seem like a viable solution in this case since the rate of population growth exceeds the number of animals that can be neutered in a year by the amount of time and effort involved in capturing a hippo and the high cost of this company.
In this context, scientists call for the sacrifice of animals before it is too late.
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“Nobody likes the idea of shooting a hippopotamus. I don’t like it,” Castelblanco-Martínez, the study’s lead author, was quoted as saying. “But no other strategy is going to work,” he added.
It is not the first time that scientists warn of the danger of the growth of the population of the so-called ‘cocaine hippos‘.
Thus, a study from early 2020 indicated that hippos cause significant damage to Colombia’s aquatic ecosystem. According to the researchers, the large amount of hippo waste changes the chemical composition of water and oxygen level, which also endangers other species.
Drug trafficker Pablo Escobar brought four hippos from a California zoo in the early 1980s to live in his Napoles estate. After Escobar’s death in 1993, they managed to escape and began to actively multiply. They became much more sexually active than their cousins in Africa due to ideal conditions in Colombia, shallow water and no drought.