Colombia Has a Huge Hippo Problem Thanks to Pablo Escobar

The whims and excesses of drug kingpins don't tend to be limited to drugs, so naturally, at the height of his power, Colombian cocaine emperor Pablo Escobar got himself a zoo

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He smuggled in all kinds of exotic animals, including four hippos, and when the government raided his palace and brought him down in 1993, they just kind of ... left them there. The other animals were distributed to various legal zoos, but the hippos posed a unique logistical challenge, so they apparently shrugged their shoulders and hoped that situation would work itself out somehow.

It has, but not in a way that anyone is entirely happy about. In the ensuing decades, those four hippos became between 80 and 100 hulking beasts, the largest hippo population outside of Africa, spread out all across Colombia. 

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That causes all the problems any invasive species would cause in a new environment, and despite their cuddly appearance, they're also vicious fuckers who have attacked Colombians and killed their cattle. They are, in fact, hungry, hungry hippos.

In some ways, though, the hippos might be benefiting the environment in Colombia by "funneling nutrients from land to water; altering the structure of wetlands; and keeping grassy plants in check by eating them." That's good, because there's not much anyone can do about them. No one, understandably, wants to get too close.

Colombia Has a Huge Hippo Problem Thanks to Pablo Escobar | Pablo Escobar's Hippos
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"Keep walking ... while you still can."

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