(Mexico – AZCARM) – The Association of Zoos, Hatcheries, and Aquariums of Mexico (AZCARM), together with the Ostok Sanctuary, are collaborating with the Colombian authorities to save and relocate more than 130 hippopotamuses that are in the former zoo of drug trafficker Pablo Escobar, and currently could be euthanized because they have been declared as an invasive species.
The President of AZCARM, Ernesto Zazueta, informed that 133 hippos are descendants of three females and one male that Pablo Escobar ordered to be imported to Colombia to live in the zoo he built in his Hacienda Nápoles, located in the municipality of Puerto Triunfo, in the department of Antioquia.
Zazueta Zazueta explained that since the Colombian drug trafficker was killed in the mid-’90s, nobody took care of these animals that today live on the banks of the Magdalena River, reproducing at such high rates that it is estimated that if immediate action is not taken in less than ten years, there could be up to 400 specimens.
Ernesto Zazueta, also Director of the Ostok Sanctuary in Culiacán, pointed out that the Colombian authorities have already declared invasive species, so the more than 130 specimens could be sterilized, castrated, relocated to other zoos or sanctuaries, but could also be euthanized. “The idea is to prevent them from being sacrificed because although they are indeed reproducing rapidly here, at the last meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Panama, it was proposed that hippos receive maximum protection by incorporating them as one of the most endangered species in the world due to the climate crisis that is killing their natural habitats, poaching and the ivory trade of their teeth,” he concluded.