Pablo Escobar Might Be Gone, But His Hippos Are Still Wreaking Havoc in Colombia

Pablo Escobar, notable drug lord and subject of two concurrently running Netflix shows, found himself so flush with cash at one point in his career (his estimated net worth was around $30 billion at the time of his death), he decided to do what any major criminal attempting to evade the the law would do—build one of the world’s largest private zoos.

According to a video from Vox, this colossal testament to Escobar’s arrogance began importing exotic animals from around the world, including giraffes, elephants, and, yes—hippos.

Hippos, we should note here, really aren’t supposed to be in Columbia. The species is native to sub-Saharan Africa—and nowhere else. While Escobar isn’t exactly known for being a law-abiding citizen, there are rules in place to keep animals within their own ecosystems for a reason.

After Escobar was gunned down by Colombian police in in 1993, authorities distributed the other animals to different zoos…except for the hippopotamuses, who they let run free to migrate into the nearest swamp.

So, now the country has hippos. Neat, right? Well, no. Believe it or not, these chubby, cuddly-looking creatures are responsible for killing more people in their native Africa than any other wild animal—and their presence in Colombia is rapidly growing.

Escobar’s property, now reclaimed and serving as a theme park, attempts to house the displaced hippos, claiming that they have been able to perfectly recreate their natural environment within the enclosure. Clearly, the hippos themselves don’t feel that it is quite up to par, as they have begun regularly moving out into the surrounding area as their population continues to grow.

Without droughts or natural predators, the hippos are quite comfortable in the Colombia, and are wasting no time in making themselves at home all across the country.

A group trying to curb the hippo infestation has faced a number of problems in trying to address the issue. Fences aren’t working, castration is too difficult and expensive—but the biggest problem? People just think they’re too darn cute, and are instituting legislative protections for the animal.

While nobody in country has been attacked by a Colombian drug hippo just yet, the video predicts that it’s only a matter of time. Watch the full clip below:


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