The Hippos of Pablo Escobar

The Hippos of Pablo Escobar

In the Colombian jungle, Escobar’s hippos wander.

During his reign as the head of the Medellín Cartel drug empire, Pablo Escobar’s net worth was in the tens of billions of dollars. As such, Escobar could & did purchase a variety of extravagant items. He also spread the money around the local community. The venn diagram of these types of spending overlap with his personal zoo.

In the 1980s Pablo Escobar built a zoo for himself at his countryside estate Hacienda Napoles. He allowed schoolchildren to see the animals on class trips. After Escobar was killed, and Hacienda Napoles was confiscated by the government, most of the animals were dispersed to other (actual) zoos. All of the animals found new homes except 4 hippos which continued to thrive and today have fruitfully multiplied to over 80 hippos. These wild Colombian hippos are becoming a real problem in the region because they aren’t easily contained to just one area, they eat and poop in large quantities, they don’t have many predators, and any solution to the problem (aside from killing them, which the general public doesn’t want) costs money that the government doesn’t want to spend.