The invasive population, of 169 specimens, comes from those imported by a drug trafficker 30 years ago for his private zoo.
Next week, Colombian authorities will sterilize one of the hippopotamuses living in the country after it was taken by a drug trafficker. Pablo Escobar and that threatens the inhabitants and ecosystems. In this way, the management plan designed to control this population is initiated, which will not only include sterilizations -40 per year-, but also transfer and ethical euthanasia.
This was confirmed by the Colombian Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Susanna who indicated that for the rest of the year, the projection is to sterilize 20 hhippopotamuses which will continue to sterilize 40 a year starting in 2024. The plan for this invasive species is planned for 20 yyears although Muhamad hopes it will. reduce this time in half.
Each sterilization costs 40 million pesos (9,320 euros) and is a “complicated and expensive” operation: it lasts between six and seven hours – if it is a woman it is more complicated, according to experts – and it has risk for both animals, the process of anesthesia or complications that lead to death, as well as for the experts who perform the process, Muhamad stated in a press conference.
The fight to get 150 hippopotamus in Colombia, the last legacy of drug lord Pablo Escobar
Colombia has been dealing with the problem of hippopotamus for 30 years when drug trafficker Pablo Escobar introduced them to the country as part of his private “zoo.” When they die, the individuals escape and find a perfect home in Magdalena Medio, with all the food they need, a good climate, and no natural enemies.
But they become an “ecosystem engineer”, they expand and are “territorial animals, with high aggression and a vector of diseases” for local fauna. Currently, the population is 169 pachyderms living in an area with an influence of about 48,000 hectares.
Together with the Regional Autonomous Corporation of the Black and Nare River Basins (Cornare), the Ministry of Environment will sterilize the first individual next week, “but it is not enough, we cannot control the population with sterilization alone,” he said. Muhammad commented.
That’s why they are also included in the plan of the transfer – there is a studied and advanced offer from India to take 60 hippos – and also “ethical euthanasia”. “None of the three is effective on its own,” but it is important to do it together, the minister said.
“We want to control the expansion of the population and put them in closed centers” so that, over time, if they stop giving birth they will annihilate themselves in the country, mainly because “we are in a race against time in terms of environmental and ecosystem impacts,” he added.
They also have an impact on the communities that live with them. In April, a hippopotamus died after being hit by a car while traveling on a highway, causing two people to be injured.