Colombia plans to cull some of the 166 hippos once owned by the drug lord Pablo Escobar in the 1980s, the BBC reported.
Twenty of them would be sterilised and others would be transferred abroad – and “some” would be euthanised, according to Environment Minister Susana Muhamad.
Escobar brought these animals to his private zoo at Hacienda NĂ¡poles. When he was killed in a gunfight with the police in 1993, the hippos were set free to wander around.
Officials have attempted different methods to control the rapid increase of hippos in Colombia’s primary river, the Magdalena.They have tried things like sterilization and sending some hippos to zoos in other countries.
According to BBC, unfortunately, these efforts didn’t work because there aren’t enough natural predators, and the fertile, swampy Antioquia region is ideal for these African animals to multiply.
The situation changed last year when hippos were officially labeled as an invasive species, allowing for their population to be reduced through a cull.
“We are working on the protocol for the export of the animals,” BBC quoted Ms as telling the local media.
“We are not going to export a single animal if there is no authorisation from the environmental authority of the other country.”
She mentioned that the ministry is developing a plan for euthanizing the hippos as a last resort.
Estimates suggests there could be as many as 1,000 hippos by 2035.
However, animal activists are concerned that sterilizing the hippos could cause suffering for the animals and pose risks to the vets doing it.

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