Saturday 10 December 2016

Drought sees Pablo Escobar’s hungry hippos run amuck in Colombia

David Kearns

Published 01/12/2015 | 15:25

Some of the descendants of Escobar's original hippos Credit: Getty Images
Some of the descendants of Escobar's original hippos Credit: Getty Images

The legacy of notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar continues to cast a shadow as a pair of hippopotamus descended from those owned by the cocaine kingpin have been terrorising a small Colombian town.

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The massive animals have invaded the village of Puerto Triunfo in a desperate bid to sniff out food. 

The portly pair has been spotted grazing alongside cattle and even roaming around the town centre ever since a drought forced the descendants of Escobar’s original four hippos to seek fresh water supplies.

Escobar’s 7,000-acre ranch, Hacienda Napoles, was once home to several exotic animals in the early 90s – including giraffes, antelope and ostriches – but authorities rehomed most of the creatures after the cocaine kingpin was shot dead in 1993.

While most were given new homes in zoos across Colombia, the hippos, however, were allowed to stay as they were deemed well suited to life along the slow-moving Magdalena River.

Since their release, the hippos have flourish and were recently numbered at around 60, according to the BBC.

Pablo Escobar
Pablo Escobar

Despite many Colombians treasuring the beasts, there was widespread outrage five years ago when authorities shot and killed one near Escobar’s estate, officials now say their numbers pose a threat to public safety and are seeking to sterilize the animals.

The hefty herbivores can weigh up to one tonne and have skin so thick they can largely shrug off most small fire arms.

In Africa, hippos killed up 500 people each year, making them the continent’s most deadliest animal.

Escobar was the head of the Medellin cartel when he was killed during a rooftop gun battle with Colombian police and military forces.

Said to be the seventh richest man in the world at the time of his death, Escobar and his cartel were involved in at least 5,000 murders.

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