Pablo Escobar’s sexy hippos are working rampant in Colombia — however now scientists are actually, and really fastidiously, chopping them off.
Local vets are performing the first-ever castration of hippos within the wild to maintain the overly-fertile descendants of the drug lord’s escaped former pets from taking on the nation’s lakes and rivers.
It’s formidable activity, on condition that the aggressive, three-ton beasts are hardly agreeable sufferers.
“When we transported the hippo we were castrating, it moved just a little while anaesthetized,” Valderrama mentioned. “And the back wheels of the truck lifted up.”
Back in 1993, one male and three feminine hippos escaped from Escobar’s 7,000-acre jungle hacienda, between Medellin and Bogata, after the cocaine kingpin was shot lifeless by authorities.
Escobar’s zebras, elephants, ostriches, camels and giraffes all had discovered properties in zoos world wide.
But the quartet of hippos — reportedly the kingpin’s favorites — had higher plans.
When they’re not charging at fishermen or terrorizing a village, the hefty, semi-aquatic herbivores have spent the final 4 many years fortunately making extra of themselves.
There are now anyplace from 80 to 150 feral, bellicose hippos within the nation, estimates that fluctuate relying on which scientists are counting after which working for his or her lives.
Past efforts at culling — notably the government-ordered taking pictures dying of an allegedly violent hippopotamus named “Pepe,” in 2009 — have failed after widespread animal rights protests.
And with no actual pure predators, their numbers are rising exponentially.
“A jaguar is our biggest predator. It’s huge, it’s beautiful,” Valderrama mentioned. “But it’s 100 kilos. It is not going to be able to do anything against a grown hippo.”
The hippos are so content material, they even seem like reaching sexual maturity — and breeding — at a youthful age, thereby producing nonetheless extra of themselves, CORNARE, the native authorities company for environmental administration, instructed DW.com.
“Within a couple of decades,” University of California San Diego ecologist Jonathan Shurin told National Geographic earlier this yr, “there could be thousands of them.”