From narco-hippos to eco-bombs

in Project HOPE2 years ago

Greetings friends of Project.Hope, I estimate that you have already heard or read news related to the "Colombian Narco Hippos" or "Cocaine Hippos", specifically news related to the alleged environmental havoc being caused by the Hippos introduced in the 80's to Colombian territory by the famous Colombian drug trafficker, terrorist and politician Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria, specifically to his private zoo located on the banks of the Magdalena River.

Now before going into details, first I want to contextualize information about hippos, these animals are ungulate mammals of the family Hippopotamidae, of African origin, semi-aquatic habitat and eco-physiology of tropical climates, from the biological aspect this species is characterized by exhibiting an exclusively herbivorous feeding behavior, etymologically the term hippo refers to the words híppos (horse) and potamós (river) whose combination means "River Horse".

Fig. 2 The hippopotamus is currently threatened because, as a result of the establishment of towns and cities on the margins of lakes and rivers. Image of public domain, Author: CatrinAdams, 2016

Hippopotamuses are the most robust semi-aquatic species, physiologically they reach sexual maturity at 5 years of age, they have polygamous behavior, females have a gestational period of 8 months very similar to humans, with the difference that after giving birth females take up to 17 months to ovulate again.

It should be noted that the existence of hippopotamuses is currently threatened because, as a result of the establishment of towns and cities on the margins of lakes and rivers, their natural spaces are increasingly reduced, in addition to irrational poaching also represents another element of danger, hence the reason why this species has been declared as vulnerable.

In this sense, it is important to highlight that although hippos are in a vulnerable situation that threatens their existence, recently the Colombian scientific society has reported that the hippopotamuses initially transferred to Colombian territory by Pablo Escobar reproduced at an accelerated rate, because they do not have natural predators such as lions and crocodiles, Today they are the largest herd of hippopotamuses outside Africa, a situation that affects the local ecosystem by inducing the displacement of wild, native and endangered species, such as the manatee, as well as altering the chemical composition of water bodies and directly affecting fishing activity.

According to Colombian scientists, the accelerated reproduction of hippopotamus in Colombian territory represents an "Ecological Bomb", so they propose to start using slaughter and castration practices as a method to mitigate the environmental impact. I look forward to hearing your views on this controversial issue.


[1] Duarte F. Pablo Escobar: Why scientists want to kill Colombia's hippos. BBC World Service. 2020. Article: Online access

[3] Naef P. “Narco-heritage” and the Touristification of the Drug Lord Pablo Escobar in Medellin, Colombia. Journal of Anthropological Research. 2018; 74: 4. Article: Online access

[3] Economist. How to handle Colombia’s narco-hippos. 2019. Article: Online access


The cover image was designed by the author: @lupafilotaxia, incorporating the public domain image background: Szirinada, 2017

Original manuscript, uploaded from the Project HOPE community website


Very interesting article @lupafilotaxia

I estimate that you have already heard or read news related to the "Colombian Narco Hippos" or "Cocaine Hippos

This is the first I'm hearing of the Cocaine Hippos. Quick question, why Cocaine Hippos, did the drug dealer, Pablo Escobar used them to smuggle drugs? I'm a bit confused in that aspect.

after giving birth females take up to 17 months to ovulate again.

This would have been good for us in Africa. Because the way and manner, people reproduce you get confused. I know of a woman, which I have known for over 7 years. I have never seen her not been pregnant. She gives birth, 3 months time, her belly is big again. Weird shit.

they propose to start using slaughter and castration practices as a method to mitigate the environmental impact.

They have to be stopped. Because there's need for balance for any ecosystem to function properly. I wouldn't suggest castration, won't be kind to the animal. The best is slaughter, win win for both animals and humans around the location. It's better to die than been castrated, living a life of anger and despair. I haven't eat hippo meat, I guess lot of you over there will have a taste of it, smiles.

Very good content. Thanks for sharing @lupafilotaxia

Greetings friend @menoski, it's good to have you visiting the blog.

The news are of a yellowish character, since the designation of cocaine hippos has nothing to do with the activities that Pablo Escobar carried out, as far as I understand he was an animal lover and the hippos were part of the extensive group of animals that he had in his private zoo. Regarding the time from birth to the new onset of the ovulation period, I agree with you it would be ideal for us humans, and I also do not agree that they put any animal to suffer. Thank you for reading.

I really do not agree that hippos are taken out of their natural habitat and moved to another place. This affects animals and also their evolution, as they will be conditioned to another environment, surely acquiring other characteristics and probably losing those they have.
It is unacceptable and it is a sample of what a person's vanity can achieve.
I hope that initiatives will soon be taken to protect these animals.

Greetings @reinaldoverdu, I also do not agree with this practice of removing animals from their wild habitats, and like you I hope that the initiatives taken by scientists with the Colombian state is the most suitable for these animals. Thanks for leaving your comment.

that is a curious fact, on the other hand it is normal that when a species is taken out of its habitat and placed in a place where it does not have predators it will prosper, we have already experienced this in Brazil with the liberation of the African bee and in Colombia with the hippopotamus of Pablo Escobar.

Greetings friend @trabajosdelsiglo, correct any species that is taken out of its wild habitat and placed in a place where it has no predators, its chances of survival will increase, unfortunately society does not interpret it this way, product of its own irrational bias. Thank you for reading. Regards

Hi @lupafilotaxia
I do not agree with the scientists' proposal.
There are other alternatives that they can manage, perhaps a little more expensive but which do not put the lives of these animals at stake.
The preservation of these species should be the premise to be taken into account when making decisions.
Great reading.
Have a great day.
Best regards.

Greetings Professor @janettyanez

Historically human beings have used their most perverse side against animals, I also don't agree with sacrificing or making these hippos suffer. I agree with a recommendation made by professor @carlos84, that of moving a large part of these animals to the African continent, where they can be in contact with wild animals in their wildest state. Thanks for your good wishes. Regards

Well, I think it is better to capture them and take them to their natural habitat in Africa, I think it is better than hunting and killing them.

Greetings friend @lupafilotaxia thanks for sharing.

Greetings dear professor @carlos84

This is the most accurate recommendation I have read, it is a viable strategy to move these animals to the African continent, so they can be in their natural ecological context. Thank you for your accurate comment. Best regards.