Title: Colombia Takes Action to Address Escobar’s Legacy: Over 100 ‘Cocaine Hippos’ Threaten Ecosystem
Subtitle: Government plans surgical sterilization, transfer, and euthanasia to control population
In a bid to curb the burgeoning population of hippos descended from the animals illegally imported by the late Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, the government of Colombia is implementing a multifaceted plan to preserve the delicate ecosystem. These hippos, often dubbed “cocaine hippos,” have rapidly multiplied, posing a significant threat to both the environment and human safety.
With estimates suggesting that Colombia’s population of over 100 hippos could soar to 1,000 by 2035 unless immediate action is taken, the government has decided to address the issue head-on. The first step in their comprehensive plan involves surgical sterilization, which is set to commence next week, targeting 40 hippos per year. While it poses a significant financial burden and carries inherent risks, this measure aims to control population growth.
However, there are concerns that sterilization alone may not be sufficient to tackle this invasive species. As such, the Colombian government is exploring alternative options, including the transportation of hippos to other countries. Potential destinations such as Mexico, India, or the Philippines are being considered for relocation. The estimated cost of deporting these hippos stands at a staggering $3.5 million.
Nevertheless, if all efforts to control the population fail, the Ministry is preparing a protocol for the euthanasia of hippos as a last resort. The government considers this a necessary measure to ensure the safety of both the environment and its citizens.
These “cocaine hippos” have already had a profound impact on Colombia’s ecosystems. Their waste alters river compositions, potentially jeopardizing local species such as manatees and capybaras. Moreover, these seemingly docile creatures possess a dangerous streak, with several incidents reported of them attacking and injuring humans.
The Colombian government is determined to avoid future tragic encounters between hippos and humans. It is pivotal to implement measures that prevent these animals from freely roaming and putting lives at risk. By addressing Escobar’s legacy and taking proactive steps, Colombia is demonstrating its commitment to protecting its unique natural heritage.
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