Pablo Escobar’s Hippos Are Actually Bad For The Environment, Studies Show

A hippo Photo by Roger Brown on

A couple months back, Animalia.Science published an article on Drug Lord Pablo Escobar’s hippos, and how they were good for the environment. You can read that article here.

For a brief summary of it, Pablo Escobar owned a private zoo with a multitude of different animals, including giraffes and hippos. Once Pablo Escobar was shot by police, all zoo animals were taken by private animal collectors, except the hippos. Those hippos, commonly known as ‘cocaine hippos,’ thrived and reproduced and can be found today in Columbia.

When the article was written, it was thought that the cocaine hippos were good for the environment, despite them being an invasive species. Their feces were a good fertilizer and helped enrich the ecosystem. They helped to bring back habitats lost due to native megafauna going extinct.

But now, we realize that the cocaine hippos also cause harm. Hippos are known to cause three-thousand human deaths a year. To compare, only sixteen people die yearly from sharks. Columbia’s cocaine hippos are no exception, one of them chased after and badly injured a farmer.

Apart from that, they are also changing the water quality, because of their manure. This causes harm to local species that reside in water, and may even relocate them.

The scariest part is that the government failed to stop their population from growing. Scientists are suggesting to kill each of them, but that upsets the public. If Columbia doesn’t act now, cocaine hippo populations are expected to skyrocket to one-and-a-half-thousand in just fourteen years from now. ★

[This article was written in celebration of national hippo day; more hippo content here]

Thank you for reading this article.

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