Colombia is facing a severe environmental crisis 40 years in the making as a result of the actions of one of the country’s most notorious drug lords.
Pablo Escobar, known as the “King of Cocaine,” was not only responsible for massive amounts of drug trafficking and violence, but also for illegally importing exotic animals, including kangaroos, zebras, and hippos, to his private zoo at his estate. While the infamous “Cocaine Bear” has received widespread attention, another species – the “cocaine hippos” – has been wreaking havoc on Colombia’s ecosystem and is now facing a cull.
The history of the “cocaine hippos” began in the 1980s when Escobar brought in four hippos to his estate, unaware of the consequences this would have on the environment. Forty years later, the population has exploded to almost 200, leaving the Colombian government struggling to find a solution to control the rapidly growing population and preserve the delicate ecosystem.
Fox News correspondent Griff Jenkins traveled to Colombia to explore this unchecked catastrophe in Fox Nation’s “The Drug Lord’s Hippos.” Jenkins spoke to locals who shared their fears and experiences with the aggressive and unpredictable hippos. “They’re very, very dangerous. The hippos have started to attack people,” one local told Jenkins.
The issue goes beyond just the danger posed to humans by these massive creatures. The hippos are also competing with native species for resources and polluting the waterways with their massive amounts of feces, causing a potential change in the water and a danger to native inhabitants. In response, the Colombian government has pledged millions to address the problem, but it is a race against time as the hippos continue to multiply rapidly.
The main solution currently being considered is surgical sterilization, but this poses a unique challenge when dealing with aggressive, multi-ton creatures. Local veterinarians are working tirelessly to develop a safe and effective method of sterilization to control the population. However, this is just one aspect of the larger plan to manage the hippos. The government is also looking into relocation and even euthanization as potential ways to control the population.
Environmental minister Susana Muhamad stresses the urgency of the situation, stating, “We are in a race against time in terms of permanent environmental and ecosystem impacts.” She also addresses the fact that there is no single strategy that will be effective in controlling the population and that a multi-faceted approach is necessary to address this crisis as quickly as possible.
The Colombian government’s plan to tackle the issue includes implementing a combination of sterilization, relocation, and euthanization. This approach aims to control the population while also minimizing the impact on the environment. Muhamad emphasizes the need for quick action, stating that their goal is to implement the plan as soon as possible in order to mitigate the harmful effects of the hippos on the ecosystem.
The consequences of Escobar’s actions in the 1980s are still being felt today, and it is now up to the Colombian government to find a solution to this rapidly growing problem. The “cocaine hippos” serve as a reminder of the extensive and long-lasting effects of the drug trade on not just humans, but also on the environment.
As the government races against time to control the population, it is clear that this is a complex issue that will require a multifaceted approach.