In the 1980s, Pablo Escobar became one of the most infamous figures and most feared drug lord in Colombia after making an empire through drug smuggling. But, it was not just drugs he smuggled in the country, there were exotic pets and gentle giants too.
Escobar smuggled many exotic animals back in his day, which ranged from hippopotamus, rhinos, elephants and giraffes, for his ranch and private zoo.
By the time of Escobar’s death in 1993, the government relocated most of his animals, but not the hippos, who were allowed to roam free, according to CBS News.
The area where they roam is a place that has no predators. The hippos have enough food and water. But, they are now getting too close to people that it is no longer uncommon if you see a hippo walking around town.
But, biologist David Echeverri, who works with CORNARE, an environmental agency in charge of tracking and managing the hippos in the region, which he estimated to be around 50 by now.
Majority of the hippos still live in Villa Napoles, Escobar’s former estate, which became a theme park in 2007. However, some have escaped, which is how they are sighted in other areas in Colombia.
Native to Africa, hippos are said to have caused more human deaths. Despite no reports of deaths or attacks in Colombia, however, Echeverri fears it is only a matter of time before someone gets hurt.
“We can’t just kill the hippos and the other solution is relocating hippos and sterilizing hippos,” Echeverri told CBS News.