A gaggle of hippos previously owned by drug lord Pablo Escobar are set to quickly depart South America.
Colombia plans to maneuver about 70 of the so-called cocaine hippos to India and Mexico, according to a tweet Thursday from the governor of Antioquia province, the place the mammals are positioned. Although some researchers have instructed the hippos might be restoring Colombia’s ecosystem, they’re nonetheless thought-about an invasive species.
The animals, descendants of 4 African hippos illegally imported by Escobar within the Eighties, grew to become a vacationer attraction after he was killed by police in 1993. Nonetheless, their inhabitants has since grown to greater than 130 within the Antioquia space, settling far past Escobar’s Hacienda Nápoles ranch.
Environmental authorities estimate this quantity may climb to 400 within the subsequent eight years, fueling the push to maneuver the hippos to international sanctuaries, in response to an Related Press report Friday.
“It’s potential to do, we have already got expertise relocating hippos in zoos nationwide,” David Echeverri López, a spokesperson for the Cornare environmental authority endeavor the hassle, informed the outlet.
Lina Marcela de los Ríos Morales, director of animal safety and welfare in Antioquia’s atmosphere ministry, informed the AP that these relocations will solely have an effect on hippos dwelling outdoors Escobar’s ranch — and never in its managed atmosphere.
This mission, reportedly brewing for greater than a 12 months, marks an enormous shift from Colombia’s preliminary plan to sterilize or kill the animals — which spurred a lawsuit that made them the primary nonhuman creatures to be legally thought-about individuals by a U.S. courtroom.
Hippos are removed from sociable, nevertheless, and yearly kill 500 people of their native Africa, in response to Nationwide Geographic. The extremely territorial animal can weigh 1000’s of kilos, with a chunk practically thrice stronger than a lion’s.
The hippos outdoors Escobar’s ranch are additionally threatening the biodiversity of native rivers with their feces. The booming inhabitants has been crowding out different animals like manatees and capybaras, prompting the necessity for determined measures.
The plan is to lure the hippos into iron containers to drive them to José María Córdova Worldwide Airport in Rionegro, 94 miles away. Sixty might be flown to the Greens Zoological Rescue & Rehabilitation Kingdom in Gujarat, India, whereas 10 will head for zoos in Mexico.
Although some have reportedly described the animals as “village pets,” others are relieved to see the hippos go. Antioquia native Álvaro Molina, as an example, informed AP he was as soon as attacked by a hippo whereas fishing.