Colombia proposes delivery invasive hippos to India, Mexico


BOGOTA, Colombia — Colombia is proposing transferring a minimum of 70 hippopotamuses that dwell close to Pablo Escobar’s former ranch – descendants of 4 imported from Africa illegally by the late drug lord within the Nineteen Eighties – to India and Mexico as a part of a plan to manage their inhabitants.

The hippos, that are territorial and weigh as much as 3 tons, have unfold far past the Hacienda Napoles ranch, positioned 200 kilometer (124 mile) from Bogota alongside the Magdalena River. Environmental authorities estimate there are about 130 hippos within the space in Antioquia province and their inhabitants may attain 400 in eight years.

Escobar’s Hacienda Napoles — and the hippos — have develop into a form of native vacationer attraction within the years for the reason that kingpin was killed by police in 1993. When his ranch was deserted, the hippos survived and reproduced in native rivers and favorable weather conditions.

Scientists warn the hippos would not have a pure predator in Colombia and are a possible drawback for biodiversity since their feces change the composition of the rivers and will affect the habitat of manatees and capybaras. Last 12 months, Colombia’s authorities declared them a poisonous invasive species.

The plan to take them to India and Mexico has been forming for greater than a 12 months, stated Lina Marcela de los Ríos Morales, director of animal safety and welfare at Antioquia’s atmosphere ministry.

The hippos could be lured with meals into massive, iron containers and transferred by truck to the worldwide airport within the metropolis of Rionegro, 150 kilometers away. From there, they’d be flown to India and Mexico, the place there are sanctuaries and zoos able to taking in and caring for the animals.

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“It is possible to do, we already have experience relocating hippos in zoos nationwide,” stated David Echeverri López, a spokesman for Cornare, the native environmental authority that might be in control of the relocations.

The plan is to ship 60 hippos to the Greens Zoological Rescue & Rehabilitation Kingdom in Gujarat, India, which De los Ríos Morales stated would cowl the price of the containers and airlift. Another 10 hippos would go to zoos and sanctuaries in Mexico such because the Ostok, positioned in Sinaloa.

“We work with Ernesto Zazueta, who is the president of sanctuaries and zoos in Mexico, who is the one who liaisons with different countries and manage their rescues,” stated the official.

The plan is to deal with the hippos residing within the rivers surrounding the Hacienda Napoles ranch, not those contained in the ranch as a result of they’re in a managed atmosphere and don’t threaten the native ecosystem.

The relocations would assist management the hippo inhabitants, and although the animals’ native habitat is Africa, it’s extra humane than the alternate proposal of exterminating them as an invasive species, stated De los Ríos Morales.

Ecuador, the Philippines and Botswana have additionally expressed their willingness to relocated Colombian hippos to their international locations, based on the Antioquia Governor’s Office.

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