Thanks Pablo: Colombia’s Growing Hippo Problem

Written by Gayne C. Young on June 29, 2014

By Gayne C. Young
Clash Daily Guest Contributor

The late drug lord Pablo Escobar’s legacy is not only one of terrifying violence, American cities swimming in cocaine, and a border run by cartels but one of hippos.

Lots and lots of hungry, hungry hippos.

At the height of his power, Pablo built Hacienda Napoles: a 5,500-acre estate of drug lord hedonistic pleasures complete with an army of life-size concrete dinosaurs, a bullring, a harem of underage party girls, and a menagerie of zoo animals that included four hippos. Following El Patrón’s death in 1993, the Colombian government took control of Hacienda Napoles. It allowed the house to fall into disarray, looked the other way as treasure hunters roamed the property digging for gold, sent the party girls home, and gave away or sold most of the zoo animals.

Except for the hippos. Nobody wanted them. This because most people don’t have the space for a three-ton animal that eats hundreds of pounds of food per day.

The original four hippos are now more than 60 and they’ve terrorized neighbors, farmers, and the aforementioned treasure hunters who still come searching for a hefty payday. They’ve killed cows and other farm animals and they’ve terrified fishermen.

Years ago a rogue male hippo was shot by a group of farmers after the bull wandered three miles from his home and onto farmland. This, of course, brought about worldwide outcry from people who have no idea what it’s like to live in fear of a Suburban-sized invasive animal attacking you or your livelihood.

These are the same people who went crazy with hippo love in 2009 when one of Colombia’s wealthiest men hunted one of the hippos in an effort to control the animals and, yes, take a trophy. Most media stated that the hunter “executed” the hippo.

So what should be done with this invasive species that has multiplied more than tenfold and spread more than 60 miles from where they were originally located?

They should be hunted. The same as with any other invasive species. Even a biologist working in the Amazon region told the BBC, “I think they should barbecue them and eat them.”

I wonder why that scientist didn’t want his name made public? Allow me to go public by saying that I’ll gladly hunt one or two of these river horses.

It’s the right thing to do. Care to join me?

* For those who think hippos are placid jolly animals please turn up your speakers and push play on this video:


GayneandDogGayne C. Young is the best selling author of the best selling books And Monkeys Threw Crap At Me: Adventures In Hunting, Fishing, And Writing and The Complete Guide To Hunting Wild Boar and Javelina.