Pablo Escobar′s hippos wreak havoc on Colombian wildlife | Global Ideas | DW | 10.09.2021

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Global Ideas

Pablo Escobar's hippos wreak havoc on Colombian wildlife

Since being introduced three decades ago by the notorious drug lord, the giant animals have multiplied and are threatening local biodiversity.

Watch video 07:07

Pablo Escobar's troublesome hippos

Almost three decades since the death of Pablo Escobar, his legacy can be found in an unlikely place — among the hundreds of large mammals roaming the country.

The handful of hippos that were brought to Colombia to live in his private zoo alongside lions and giraffes have since multiplied. Tourist guides now bring travelers to see them splashing in the Magdalena River. 

But not all are happy about this development. Fishermen complain they only catch half as many fish and are sometimes forced to protect their boats from animal attacks. Others say they are polluting water systems with their droppings and hurting biodiversity because many local species can't compete with the large animals. Can the country find a way for the hippos to live in harmony with local wildlife? 

A film by Holger Trzeczak

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