Illegal Aliens: Colombia Proposes Shipping Invasive Hippos to India, Mexico

The hippos at Pablo Escobar's former estate are believed to be the biggest herd outside Africa
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FILE — Hippos float in the lake at Hacienda Napoles Park, once the private estate of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar who imported three female hippos and one male decades ago in Puerto Triunfo, Colombia, Feb. 4, 2021. Colombia intends to undertake the task of trying to transfer to India and Mexico at least 70 hippos that live in the surroundings of the park as a measure to control its population, the manager of Animal Protection and Welfare at the Antioquia Environment Secretariat said Thursday, March 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara, File)
FILE — Hippos float in the lake at Hacienda Napoles Park, once the private estate of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar who imported three female hippos and one male decades ago in Puerto Triunfo, Colombia, Feb. 4, 2021. Colombia intends to undertake the task of trying to transfer to India and Mexico at least 70 hippos that live in the surroundings of the park as a measure to control its population, the manager of Animal Protection and Welfare at the Antioquia Environment Secretariat said Thursday, March 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara, File)

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia is proposing transferring at least 70 hippopotamuses that live near Pablo Escobar’s former ranch – descendants of four imported from Africa illegally by the late drug lord in the 1980s – to India and Mexico as part of a plan to control their population.

The hippos, which are territorial and weigh up to 3 tons, have spread far beyond the Hacienda Napoles ranch, located 200 kilometer (124 mile) from Bogota along the Magdalena River. Environmental authorities estimate there are about 130 hippos in the area in Antioquia province and their population could reach 400 in eight years.

Escobar’s Hacienda Napoles — and the hippos — have become a sort of local tourist attraction in the years since the kingpin was killed by police in 1993. When his ranch was abandoned, the hippos survived and reproduced in local rivers and favorable climatic conditions.

Scientists warn the hippos do not have a natural predator in Colombia and are a potential problem for biodiversity since their feces change the composition of the rivers and could impact the habitat of manatees and capybaras. Last year, Colombia’s government declared them a toxic invasive species.

The plan to take them to India and Mexico has been forming for more than a year, said Lina Marcela de los Ríos Morales, director of animal protection and welfare at Antioquia’s environment ministry

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