Call Me Stormy

Finding righteous currents in turbulent times

Colombia’s Hippo Problem

The hippopotamus is native to Africa, so why are there so many in Colombia? The story goes that Pablo Escobar, one of the most infamous and successful drug lords in history, amassed a fortune producing and trafficking cocaine out of his home base in rural Colombia. And with all his drug money, Escobar wanted to build his own personal zoo, so he imported exotic animals from across the world, including four hippos.

Unfortunately, Escobar met an untimely death in the early 1990s and the government reclaimed his estate and distributed the animals to other zoos in the country, except for the hippos, which were left to fend for themselves in and around the Magdalena River. The four hippos multiplied to 50 and are now a ticking time bomb. Learn how Colombia is dealing with the problem in this episode of Vox.

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