Home/ Opinion / Quick Edit/  Escobar’s beasts

After cheetahs from Namibia, India may have more wildlife coming its way, this time from Colombia. Hippos, to be specific, and not just any, but ones that once belonged to Pablo Escobar. The drug lord had, in the late 1980s, brought a few of these highly territorial bulls to that country. Their numbers have swelled to about 150 after they were left to roam freely in a hot, marshy area following Escobar’s death in 1993. A few of them escaped and settled in the Magdalena river basin, where they multiplied faster than Columbian authorities could neuter them. And since there weren’t any natural predators, their headcount grew rapidly. This has posed an ecological threat, it seems. Their waste alone—each of these beasts consumes 40kg of grass every night—is endangering other wildlife, poisoning the water and killing fish in the river. So, authorities are now planning to trap and ship as many as 60 to a yet undisclosed facility in India and another 10 to Mexico. This would cost them nearly $3.5 million. That’s substantial but worth every dollar. Failing relocation, these beasts face culling after the government labelled them an invasive species. It may be a second life for them.

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Updated: 30 Mar 2023, 10:41 PM IST
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