Colombia sterilizes 24 hippos in the former domain of drug lord Escobar – .

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Colombia sterilizes 24 hippos in the former domain of drug lord Escobar – .


Bogota (AFP)

Twenty-four of the 80 hippos roaming the former ranch of late Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar have been sterilized due to the “uncontrolled” spread of this “invasive” species, authorities said on Friday.

Before being shot by police in 1993, the infamous Escobar had purchased a number of exotic animals to live on his ranch, including flamingos, giraffes, zebras and kangaroos.

After his death, all except the hippos were sold to zoos.

Escobar originally acquired a single male and female hippopotamus.

They were left to roam his estate of Hacienda Napoles, which has since been converted to a theme park, as they were considered too big to try to move, but since then their numbers have mushroomed.

The hippos were slaughtered with darts to inject them with a drug called GonaCon, according to a bulletin from Cornare, a regional environmental protection organization in northwestern Colombia.

“It’s an effective contraceptive in both men and women” and less expensive than surgical sterilization, said Cornare.

“However, it’s complicated because experts suggest giving three doses. ”

11 other hippos have already been sterilized by more traditional means.

Experts believe this is the largest herd of hippos outside of Africa and this has caused problems.

“The presence of these animals in an ecosystem that is not their own, leads to consequences such as the displacement of local fauna,” said David Echeverri, an expert from Cornare quoted in the bulletin.

Hippos are also responsible for “ecosystem changes” and attacks on local fishermen.

Escobar became one of the richest men on the planet, according to Forbes, thanks to the drug-trafficking empire he built.

Almost 30 years after his death, Colombia remains the world’s largest producer of cocaine, much of which is smuggled into the United States.

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