Why Were Escobar’s Hippos a Problem in Colombia?

The famous drug lord Pablo Escobar built a zoo for himself and filled it with as many animals as he could. Since the reproduction of animals taken from their natural habitats cannot be prevented, a small surprise awaits the world about the uncontrolled reproduction of hippos in 2035.

hippos, It is an issue that Colombia has been suffering from for years. While the numbers of these giant mammals are increasing day by day in Colombia, they continue to survive in the river, overflowing from the farm. Moreover, this is not as innocent as it seems!

Still existing in the region since the 1980s hipposIt has caused the death of many animals in the region. If not prevented, their number is expected to rise to 500. It seems that Escobar still exerts influence in the region even in his death.

Pablo Escobar founded a large farm called Hacienda Napoles in the 1980s.

Making a name for himself in the world through illegal activities Escobar also had a farm established for himself at that time. Elephants, giraffes, exotic animals… Whatever you are looking for! Moreover, if you think that these animals came legally, you are wrong. He also brought these animals into the country illegally.

by illegal means Among the animals he introduced into the country were four hippos, three females and one male. Many people came to visit this zoo to see various animals. When the zoo, which had been in service for nearly 10 years, was seized, these animals were distributed to farms in the region. But all four hippos stayed where they were.

Over the years, these hippos have never left here.

Hacienda Napoles

The hippos living in the farm’s lake were initially not such a problem when their numbers were small. However, as the confiscated farm turned into ruin as the days went by, Hippos never left their place. Moreover, there were no longer four of them, their number is said to be around 50-60 today.

Moreover, what makes this situation even more dangerous is that approximately 10-12 of them are located nearby. Going to the Magdalena River. While many witnesses in the region prove this, the presence of these animals there threatens the natural life.

The conditions in this region are just right for them.


It is obvious that these animals living in the wild love the area. They have not moved from their places for years and have never experienced the drought in Africa. This is a plus for them. They must have frightened the living things and people in the region because the complaints of the local people never stop.

Even though an ideal solution is wanted to be developed, unfortunately this is not possible. The logistics of the region are not sufficient to transport these animals, If they are taken to Africa, there is a high probability that they will carry diseases to the animals there. Veterinarian and nature conservationist Corlan ValderramaAbout the subject ““This is the largest hippo herd outside their native Africa.” He uses the expression.

The recommendation is to kill the animals. If it does not happen, it is thought that their number will exceed 1400.

escobar hippos

Experts say the region is in danger and They say that if at least 30 hippos are not culled every year, the problem will reach an unavoidable level. Sterilization is not a preferred option due to the danger of extinction.

What about these animals? How could it have become such a big problem?

While under normal circumstances it is very likely that they will be hunted by other animals in Africa, this is not possible in South America.

cocaine hippos

In their area having no natural enemies and no other animals that they would feel threatened bycaused them to reproduce uncontrollably. Even if there was a population decrease due to natural selection, this situation could have been prevented, but when this is the case, the environment they live in has supported them to reproduce and multiply very easily.

How do they impact the environment?

Experts who have conducted research on the subject underline that their existence has a huge impact on the ecosystem. This situation is very diverse. Destroying the chemical structure of rivers, causing fish to disappear and seals to become extinct much…

Researcher on the subject biologist Nataly Castelbanco,Hippos are spread throughout Colombia’s river system, and thousands of people earn their living from them. Hippos spotted 370 kilometers from Hacienda Napoles” says.

People in the region are divided into two.


There are also many people who oppose culling hippos. In fact, the only reason why this idea has not been realized for years seems to be public opinion. Castelblanco, who wants to work on this issue, states that he received many death threats on social media while he was doing research on the subject.

Human affection aside, hippos are not that friendly animals. In fact, it is among the deadliest animals in the world. Number of people dying from hippo attacks according to news in Africa 500 of them is in the past.

“Pepe the cocaine hippo” in 2009 His murder by the Colombian army was an event that drew great reaction from the public. David Echevveri, a biologist working at the Colombian government’s environmental agency Conare, told the BBC that the culling option was “The situation is really serious and it is necessary to take measures to solve it.He said that it was handled with the following sentences.

Even though Escobar’s death has been more than 30 years, these hippos, which are still evidence of his existence in the country, are referred to as an ecological time bomb. Still, culling them is a scary-sounding proposition, We hope this will not even be necessary.

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