This is what I found on CBSNEWS.COM:
Fishing villages, small boats and children at play dot the landscape along the shallow waterways of Colombia’s Magdalena River. However, an invasive species left behind by former drug kingpin Pablo Escobar is threatening the ecosystem and, possibly, a way of life.
That species? Hippos. The giants, native only to Africa, are now running wild in Colombia, reports CBS News’ Manuel Bojorquez. The story of Colombia’s hippos starts in Villa Napoles, Escobar’s former residence. Escobar once had four hippos smuggled there for his private zoo.
Escobar’s ranch housed hundreds of exotic animals including rhinos, elephants and giraffes. By the 1980s, he was one of the wealthiest and most feared drug lord in the world, and is led to be responsible for some 7,000 deaths. Around the time Escobar met his death in the early 90s, the government relocated most of the zoo animals. The hippos, however, were basically allowed to roam free.
“People forgot the hippos,” said biologist David Echeverri, who works with CORNARE, the environmental agency in charge of monitoring the hippos in the region. He estimates there are about 50 or more of them now, and the area where they roam is a paradise for the animals who have no predators and ample food and water. But they’re getting too close to people, and it’s not uncommon to spot a three-ton hippo walking around town. Locals call them the “village pets,” but Echeverri said the “dangerous” and “territorial” species is anything but. In Africa, hippos cause more human deaths than any other large animal. So far, there are no known attacks in Colombia.
Information provided by CBSNEWS.COM.
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