The GuardianThe Guardian

Colombia floats new strategy for Escobar’s hippos: Ship them abroad

By Luke Taylor

14 Mar 2023 · 6 min read

Editor's Note

Pablo Escobar’s hippos are infamous. Following his death in 1993, the hippos - which he had imported - escaped into the wild. The Guardian reports on Colombia’s future plans for the creatures.

The first time a hippo emerged from the trees, waddled cumbersomely across the grass and slid down the river bank into the murky brown waters of the Cocorná River, the fishermen in Las Angelitas froze in awe.

“We’d heard rumours of these hippos and seen footprints downriver but as we’ve never been to a zoo we’d never seen an animal like that in real life,” says Franki de Jesús Zapata Ciron. “An animal all the way from Africa, here!? It seemed curious and beautiful.” Local families stopped working and gathered to gaze at the three-tonne beast, Zapata recalls.

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