Colombia is addressing the issue of the 166 hippos descended from drug lord Pablo Escobar’s herd in the 1980s.
Environment Minister Susana Muhamad announced a plan to manage the population, which includes sterilizing 20 hippos, transferring some abroad, and euthanizing others.
Pablo Escobar imported hippos for his private zoo at Hacienda Nápoles.
When he was killed in 1993, the hippos were left to roam free in Colombia’s Magdalena River region, creating a population issue.
The Colombian government is working on a protocol for exporting the animals and will ensure approval from countries wanting to receive the hippos.
“We are working on the protocol for the export of the animals,” Environment Minister Susana Muhamad said.
Hippos Poses Threat
The government’s environment ministry has said that uncontrolled hippo reproduction poses risks to humans and native wildlife.
Estimates suggest the population could reach 1,000 by 2035 if not appropriately managed.
The Colombian government declared hippos as invasive species last year due to overpopulation.