Colombia proposes shipping invasive hippos to India and Mexico to control population

Hippos are seen swimming close to the Magdalena River in Doradal, Colombia
(Image credit: Anadolu Agency / Contributor/Getty Images)

Colombia is hoping to control a population of hippopotamuses that live near Pablo Escobar's former ranch by sending 70 of them to India and Mexico, The Associated Press reports Friday.

The animals, so-called "cocaine hippos," are "descendants of four imported from Africa illegally by the late drug lord in the 1980s," and "have spread far beyond the Hacienda Napoles ranch," AP writes. When the ranch was abandoned after Escobar's death, "the hippos survived and reproduced in local rivers and favorable climatic conditions." Environmental authorities say there are approximately 130 hippos in the area and estimate their population could rise to 400 in eight years. While the Colombian government declined to declare the hippos a toxic invasive species, scientists warn that they don't have natural predators in the area and could threaten biodiversity "since their feces change the composition of the rivers and could impact the habitat of manatees and capybaras."

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