As reported, Colombian authorities are currently in talks with their Indian counterparts for the long proposed foreign transfer of some of their overflowing population to other countries such as India and Mexico.
The present interesting scenario traces back to the 1980s, when legendary drug lord and crime godfather Pablo Escobar, illegally brought 4 African hippos into the country. The hippos which could weigh upto 3 tonnes and are extremely territorial in nature, initially settled down near Escobar’s former ranch in Hacienda Napoles, 124 miles from Bogota.
Environmental authorities have estimated that the current population of the amphibious species has risen to around 130, and if not countered, could rise as high upto 400 in the next 8 years. The invasive species has spread far beyond than their initial territory near the ranch’s vicinity, and is now spread over the Magdalena river flowing near the area.
Environmental scientists fear that the population could continue breeding endlessly. The abundance of resources, suitable climate and the absence of a natural predator makes them a vehement threat to the natural flora and fauna of the region. A study conducted by Coloumbian scientists and researchers re vealed that, the feces of these hippos is harmful as it could dissolve in the river water and make it unsuitable for the manatees and capybaras.
Marcela de los Ríos Morales, director of animal protection and welfare at Antioquia’s Environment Ministry talked about the plan to counter the threat the species could cause in the future. She iterated the strategy of relocating parts of the population to foreign countries, that is being worked on for more than a year. The strategy would involve luring the animals with food into large, iron containers, later transferring them via trucks to the nearby international airport in Rionegro city, 150 kilometers away. From there, the animals would be flown to India and Mexico, where there are sanctuaries and zoos capable of taking in and caring for the animals.
According to the Antioquia Governor’s Office, Ecuador, the Philippines and Botswana are among countries that have expressed their interest in joining the programme.