Colombia Attempts to Manage Invading Hippo

Colombia aims to regulate the almost 100 hippopotamuses—massive African animals—that inhabit its territory. The nation in South America uses a variety of strategies to try and manage the large creatures. Authorities may perform a medical procedure on the animals to sterilize them. The authorities recently stated that they might relocate the hippos to neighboring nations or perhaps put them to death. The late Pablo Escobar imported the forebears of the animals to the United States in the 1980s. Escobar oversaw a criminal narcotics enterprise in Colombia. From Escobar’s residence, the hippos have dispersed to adjacent rivers, where they have procreated. They are considered an invasive species that could harm the ecosystem by the authorities, because they have no natural predators in Colombia.

According to official estimates, the Magdalena River region is home to a large number of Colombia’s 169 hippos. They predict that by 2035, there might be 1,000 if nothing is done. According to Environment Minister Susana Muhammad, the plan’s initial phase would soon start with sterilizing 40 hippos annually. The process is expensive. The average cost of a sterilization is $9,800. According to the ministry, there are other dangers to health professionals and hippos, such as adverse drug reactions or even death. The hippos occupy a wide territory. They are hostile and possessive.

According to experts, sterilization is insufficient on its own to stop the spread of invasive species. The administration declared in March that it may relocate the animals to other nations. According to Muhammad, plans are being discussed by Colombian officials to send sixty hippos to India after corresponding with officials in Mexico, India, and the Philippines. She declared, “We are working on the protocol for the export of the animals.” “If the other country’s environmental authority does not grant us authorization, we will not export even one animal.” The ministry is developing a protocol to put the animals to death as a last resort to manage the population.

In the 1980s, a herd of hippos was imported to Hacienda Nápoles. It was Escobar’s personal zoo. Since his passing in 1993, it has attracted a lot of tourists. The majority of the creatures there reproduce uncontrollably and live in freedom along the rivers. The residents of Puerto Triunfo, which is close by, are accustomed to hippos occasionally strolling freely through the town. Scientists caution that the feces left by hippos contaminates rivers and may have an impact on the habitat of larger creatures like capybaras and manatees.

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