Colombia Confronts Drug Lord’s Legacy: Hippos

Introduced to Colombia by the drug lord Pablo Escobar, the hippopotamus is prompting a debate over the containment of invasive species.

Comments: 15

  1. Leave the hippos alone! Don't forget, we humans are the worlds most destructive and invasive species!

    So, it is more than a little hypocritical for us to kill those poor hippos based upon their being native to another continent.

    It also is quite lame to justify killing the hippo as less expensive than live capture, based upon Columbia being a poor country and all. If Columbia was so concerned about it's poor people they wouldn't be spending billions of dollars on weapon systems, etc.

    Moreover, the real threat to ecosystems in Columbia aren't a bunch of hippos, rather they are the millions of humans and their activities; such as farming, mineral extraction, industry, etc.

    Shame on us for pointing our bloody ecosystem wrecking fingers at the hippos, as if they are a significant problem.

    Certainly this hippo hunt was just an excuse to give some hunters cover to kill some exotic animal and to make the various hunting loving wildlife biologists feel good about the anti-invasive species, pro-hunting religion they are taught in college.

  2. Animal rights activists and public sentiments notwithstanding, the best option, considering the rights of the native floral and fauna species, seems to be eradication. This must be done before the problem gets too big to solve.

  3. This was written with a tone of some amusement, but the situation is definitely not funny. Hippos are extremely dangerous animals (at least they are vegetarian). Rather than exterminate them all, why not only eliminate the males - which is what probably should have been done with Sr. Escobar long before it was.

  4. Wild animals in a foreign land. Those are the hippos in Colombia, a beautiful country of freindly people who love lofe, family and friends. Visit Colombia it has all seasons vertically from valleys to paramos. Above all, Colombia is a democracy that confronts serious problems but that survives because its citizens are dreamers who love thier country. See another "Hippo" article in:

  5. I agree that the hippos must be handled. Weather or not being killed is the best method of doing so is left up to the country. Hipos are scary animals , they are almost invisible in the water and can swim and run way faster than humans and some boats.

  6. Such an accomplishment. Shoot down a defenseless animal with a load of weaponry. What ever happened to the use of tranquilizers and moving these animals to an area where they'd be welcomed?

  7. I recommended this article because it serves as education to people who are ignorant of the sometimes disastrous consequences of introducing a non-native of *any* living species--plant or animal--to an area. It can totally disrupt the natural balance and destroy permanently whole ecosystems. Pet owners, take heed! Don't release unwanted pets into the wild. It is cruel to the animals and the environment. Google some results on this; you'll be amazed at how whole crops and the economics of a region have been destroyed by the irresponsible release of non-native pets into the wild. Before you introduce that exotic species of plant or tree to your property, check with your county extension agent to determine if it is invasive and, therefore, destructive to the native flora.

  8. Hippos are big and they limit themselves to one ecological niche (they have to spend time in water). Their relatively slow rate of reproduction, their limited ability to hide, and their size all means that they can be extirpated whenever Columbia wants. It makes hippos unique among invasive species: they are the only one that a concerted effort can eliminate.

  9. I agree with sllawrence: Look what happened to America when non-native humans arrived. They destroyed everything and killed off the natural inhabitants. I also agree with gale w.: Except I say why not kill off all the human males who love killing defenseless animals. If I could house every one of these hippos in my backyard I would. How can we even consider shooting in the head and heart such a magnificent beast. Humans will destroy the earth entirely eventually.

  10. With all the poaching and killing of animals in Africa, the heard in Colombia is a way of preserving the species. I think they could manage them in a way to keep them in a region and only kill those that stray from it, much like some animals are killed that leave the protection of Yellowstone.

  11. Not a problem with letting the hippos loose. They will most likely be destroyed in Africa.

  12. Okay, this is sheer, irrational ignorance on the part of animal rights activists. Invasive species can cause environmental disaster for countless indigenous species. Hippos are the kudzu of invasive animal species. It's not about attacks on humans, it's about the damage they will cause to the ecosystem. Allowing hippos to invade South American waters is reckless human intervention of the highest order and would certainly lead to the threat of, if not total extinction of untold numbers of plant and animal species, some of which may not even have been discovered, yet.

  13. As a biologist, I know that animal-rights sentiment is drastically misplaced in this case. Frankly, I don't give two hoots about the fact that they are dangerous to humans, which is all this article seems to mention. There are plenty of us to go around. Harsh, but true. What I am more concerned about is that these animals are on the doorstep of the Amazon rainforest. What unforeseen havoc could they wreak on the environment there? There are hundreds of examples of this already. I think every one of them should be moved or euthanized, because it has already been demonstrated that the facility they are in is not secure enough to prevent escape and possible establishment. If we are concerned about conservation, it is far more efficient to ensure that hippo habitat is preserved where they already live, and far less expensive than trying to compensate for any environmental possible consequences (once again, there are hundreds of examples amounting to billions of dollars of this already).

  14. As a Colombian I was stonished by the case of Pepe the hippo. But this is more than a case of an invasive species. It was a case of terrible media coverage, generalized ignorance on environmental topics and the most important thing the ambivalent value of life here in my country. The region were Pepe was hunted used to be one of the bloodiest regions of the world, where homicide rates were ten times higher than Brasil or Rusia; where the most unhuman acts of violence took place including the killing of entire families and villages in the most atrocious ways. This is one of the places where the word TERROR was invented. And some how the life of a dangerous and out-of-place animal brougth here as a demostration of unsane wealth by one of the greatest monsters of the XX century (Pablo Escobar) became a national mourning issue. This is a very rare country but is my country and I love it.

  15. There should be international and national laws to prevent the importation of exotic wildlife in the first place. The Colombian government could have saved itself lots of cash if it had sensible legislation to prevent such absurd ideas as a ranch full of exotic wildlife. And African countries should not allow their treasured wildlife to be captured and exported around the world. Prevention is much more eco-friendly and humane than dealing with the aftermath. No matter how wealthy you are, you shouldn't be allowed to create your own little fantasy land if it endangers the ecosystem and causes animal cruelty.