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Colombia begins sterilization of hippos descended from pets of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar

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BOGOTA, Colombia — Colombia on Tuesday started the sterilization of hippopotamuses, descendants of animals illegally delivered to the nation by late drug kingpin Pablo Escobar within the Nineteen Eighties.

Two male hippos and one feminine underwent surgical sterilization, environmental authorities mentioned. It’s half of a bigger authorities effort to regulate the inhabitants of greater than 100 of the mammals that roam round unsupervised in some rivers.

The plan consists of the sterilization of 40 hippos a yr, switch a few of them to different nations and presumably euthanasia.

The hippos, which unfold from Escobar’s property into close by rivers the place they flourished, haven’t any pure predators in Colombia and have been declared an invasive species that might upset the ecosystem.

A gaggle of hippos was introduced within the Nineteen Eighties to Hacienda Nápoles, Escobar’s personal zoo that turned a vacationer attraction after his loss of life in 1993. A lot of the animals reside freely in rivers and reproduce with out management.

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Sterilization takes time, as a result of recognizing and capturing the territorial, aggressive 3-ton animals is difficult, David Echeverry López, chief of the atmosphere workplace in command of the plan, mentioned in a video distributed to the press.

Rain occasions across the space have difficult efforts to seize the animals. Extra grass means “they’ve an oversupply of food, so baiting them to seize them turns into much more difficult,” Echeverry mentioned.

The federal government estimates there are 169 hippos in Colombia, particularly within the Magdalena River basin, and that if no measures are taken, there may very well be 1,000 by 2035.

When the plan was first introduced, the atmosphere ministry mentioned the process is dear — every sterilization prices about $9,800 — and entails dangers for the hippopotamus, together with allergic reactions to anesthesia or loss of life, in addition to dangers to the animal well being personnel.


Observe AP’s protection of Latin America and the Caribbean at https://apnews.com/hub/latin-america

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