Colombia sterilises drug lord’s hippos

 Colombia sterilises drug lord’s hippos

A group of hippos – an unwanted legacy following the death of notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar – are being sterilised.

Escobar, who was shot dead by police in 1993, illegally imported exotic animals, including a male and a female hippo – dubbed the “cocaine hippos”.

Since then, a growing population has been taking over the countryside near his former ranch, Hacienda Nápoles.

The Colombian government has so far sterilised 24 of more than 80 animals.

They have been treated with a chemical that will make them infertile.

Colombian environmentalists say the hippos, believed to be the biggest herd outside Africa, are an invasive species and have pushed away the native fauna.

Back in 1993, when authorities seized Hacienda Nápoles – Escobar’s luxury estate situated about 250km (155 miles) north-west of the capital Bogotá – most of the animals found there were distributed to zoos across the country.

But not the hippos.

“It was logistically difficult to move them around, so the authorities just left them there, probably thinking the animals would die,” Colombian biologist Nataly Castelblanco told the BBC earlier this year.

BBC