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Hippo belonging to the private collection of Pablo Escobar dies in Colombia after being struck by a car

According to a statement from local authorities, a hippo from Pablo Escobar’s private collection died in Colombia after being hit by a car on Tuesday night on a route between Medelln city and Bogota. The driver of the car was sent for medical assistance by emergency personnel while the hippo died on the spot. The Colombian government has struggled to manage the population of hippos in the region, with some proposals to cull the animals being met with controversy.

Escobar illegally imported hippos into Colombia in the 1980s as part of his collection of exotic animals at his ranch, which was located around 250 kilometres outside of Medelln. After his death in 1993, most of the animals in his zoo were relocated, but the hippos were left behind, as they were too heavy to be transported. Over time, the hippos multiplied and escaped into nearby rivers and lakes, creating a feral population that has continued to grow.

The current hippo population in Colombia is between 130 and 160, and they are seen by some locals as a tourist attraction. However, they pose a threat to the local ecosystem and have been responsible for attacks on humans. Officials have stated that “situations like these reaffirm that the presence of hippos in the region is an environmental and social problem, which requires inter-institutional articulation to search for comprehensive, in-depth, and timely solutions.”

Anbal Gaviria, the governor of Antioquia, has requested the federal government to relocate the hippos to sanctuaries in India and Mexico. At least 70 hippos currently living in the Hacienda Napoles ranch, located 200 km from Bogota along the Magdalena River, are being considered to be sent to India and Mexico. Officials from Mexico and India have not yet commented on this. It is suggested that 60 of the 70 hippos be sent to India’s Greens Zoological Rescue & Rehabilitation Kingdom in Gujarat state. Ten more hippos would travel to Mexican zoos and sanctuaries like the Ostok in Sinaloa.

Instead of sending the hippos inside the ranch, the intention is to send the ones that surround the Hacienda Napoles ranch. The ones living inside the ranch, according to officials, are in a controlled setting and pose no damage to the nearby ecology. Research has shown that hippos pose a hazard to agricultural and public safety, and their faeces affects water oxygen levels, which can lower water quality and result in widespread fish fatalities. Recently, hippos have been designated an ‘invasive species’ in Colombia.


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