The four hippos bought by drug lord Pablo Escobar to roam his estate in Medellin have reportedly become a danger to humans and animals after multiplying to around 80.
The deceased drug lord, who was shot dead in December 1993, bought four hippos to live at his Hacienda Napoles estate in Medellin in the north-western Colombian department of Antioquia which have now become a family of 80, according to local media.
Researchers at the University of California San Diego and the Pedagogical and Technological University of Colombia said the hippos’ faeces are fertilising algae and causing bacteria.
Video Credit: CEN/@dorianramirez144
The large hippo herd is reportedly harming local algae such as red tide while possibly creating a health hazard for humans and other animals.
Researchers have been studying the effects of the animals remaining at the estate as Escobar also kept giraffes, zebras and rhinos, according to reports.
Many of the animals were captured and relocated after the drug lord’s death, however the hippos proved difficult to catch and have multiplied in numbers since 1993 when Escobar suffered a fatal gunshot through the ear while trying to flee the authorities.
Biologist Jonathan Shurin said: “There have been negative consequences in water quality and water resources due to the increase in algae and harmful bacteria.”
Researchers claim the hippos spend most of their time in around the lakes and are affecting the local environment.
Experts are also concerned that the hippos’ numbers will continue to grow.
Shurin said: “In a couple of decades, there could be thousands [of hippos].”
In May 2019, a large hippo was filmed walking around a residential area as dogs barked at it. The incident was filmed by a stunned onlooker in the municipality of Doradal.
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