The late Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar was infamous for his extravagant lifestyle, and the impact of his operation is still being felt in the country today. One strange and unexpected problem that surfaced long after Escobar’s death involves the invasive species that he brought to the zoo at his home in Colombia. His hippos have become the biggest problem as they rapidly multiply and threaten the area’s ecosystem.
The hippos, native to Africa, are disrupting the local wildlife and terrorizing nearby villages, preventing villagers from accessing streams and waterways.
Biologist David Echeverri says that most of the animals from Escobar’s zoo were returned to their natural habitats or are now housed in sanctuaries.
When Escobar’s empire fell, there were only four hippos. Researchers estimate that there are now over 50.
Most of the hippos still live inside Escobar’s former estate, which was turned into a theme park in 2007. However, as the hippos grow in number they are becoming impossible to contain and have now wandered as far as 100 miles away.
Sadly, the hippo’s presence is disrupting wildlife native to the region, many of which are no match for the powerful animal. Locals are at odds about how to deal with the problem. When officials first began to hunt the hippos in an attempt to eradicate them, locals who considered them a sort of local mascot protested against the hunts. As a result, a federal judge banned the hunting of hippos. Experts are now suggesting that the animals should just be relocated.
While the hippos wait to be relocated, many have become a tourist attraction and even have their own exhibit at the Escobar theme park.
The legend of Pablo Escobar continues to grow years after his death, not only in Colombia, but elsewhere in the world. The Mind Unleashed recently reported that a new pop-up burger bar by the name of Pablo’s Escoburgers recently opened in Prahran in Melbourne, Australia.
Escobar supplied roughly 80% of the cocaine imported into the U.S. in the late 1980s, and was said to be responsible for the deaths of over 7,000. However, the statistics are likely exaggerated, with general drug war deaths attributed to Escobar when they should be attributed to prohibition itself.