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Invasive species: Colombia wants to sterilize Pablo Escobar’s hippos

Nature

Colombian authorities launched an operation on Thursday aimed at sterilizing the hippos of the late drug trafficker Pablo Escobar, who have been wreaking havoc on the local fauna and flora for around thirty years.

The Colombian Ministry of the Environment had decreed the species as “invasive” in February 2022. For the moment only three of them have been sterilized in this population control operation, but the government program plans to operate around forty per year by 2025.

Sterilizing these huge mammals is an alternative to the proposed 2022 hunt, which has been poorly received by animal rights activists, NBC news reported.

However, this method is very expensive and costs around US$10,000 – Canadian $13,718 – per operation and requires apprehending the 3-ton beasts: a complicated task according to Colombian environmental authorities.

Population control is also done through other measures, such as the deportation of several individuals to zoos abroad, notably in Mexico and India.

Four beasts were allegedly imported from Africa by the famous narco trafficker, Pablo Escobar, in the 1980s. Today, more than a hundred descendants of these hippos have invaded Colombian forests and rivers and their numbers could rise in thousands within ten years, threatening the survival of native species, according to what the American media reported.

Nature

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