Hippos Become An Invasive Species – Huh?

Imagine my surprise when I learned that hippos are now considered an invasive species! We are all used to thinking of hippos as endangered animals – how could they possibly be invasive? Turns out, this is only a problem in the South American jungle country of Colombia, and only on the estate of the late drug lord Pablo Escobar. Apparently desperate to spend his piles of drug money, he began a Michael-Jackson-like building spree on his huge property, creating an airstrip, a bullring, and stocking his lands with a plethora of zoo animals, including zebras, elephants, ostriches, giraffes, camels, and, of course, hippos.

The ranch was confiscated by the government after the death of Escobar in 1993. Most of the animals disappeared, but the hippos thrived, multiplying from the original 4 to a pod of 19. What’s the big deal?, you might ask. (I did.) Well, apparently the hippos are marauding around at night chomping on any sweet greens they can get their tusks on and this bothers the neighbors, so much so that one was recently shot by a farmer. This puts me in mind of the time when I was a kid and the neighbor’s cattle broke out of their field and headed over to our house for a little midnight rendevous with my dad’s shotgun. Okay, so he didn’t actually shoot any of them, but I’m sure they were scared.

It’s feared that the hippos will begin to colonize other parts of Columbia as the lands they live on are not fenced, nor is there money for a fence. Concerned local citizens have put the word out that these hippos are for sale and they are urging their wealthy northern neighbors (that’s us) to come on down with a pocketful of pesos and choose your new hippo friend.

I think a better idea would be to just turn the entire country of Columbia into a hippo sanctuary. I’m sure the Columbians wouldn’t mind living elsewhere, especially once we explain to them that this could totally turn around their reputation from the drug-infested crime capitol of the world to an eco-friendly tourist attraction. Columbia = hippos!

Read the full article from Wildlife Extra…

And learn a bit more by watching this video:


One response to “Hippos Become An Invasive Species – Huh?”

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  1. Alex says:

    Hey!… I am Colombian… and your article is quite funny. I just wonna say that Colombia is spelled with “o” and not “u”… so it is not called Columbia (That is a state in the US). I don’t know where you are from, but its not nice to see people making spelling errors on a country’s name.

    Also, there a few facts that are wrong. First, there are 22 hippos that are under the care of the government, so everyone knows where they are. Only 2 escaped and had a baby hippo. So they killed the male because they are an invasive species.

    One more thing, no one is asking money to the US for this. Zoos and environmental organizations from all over the world have been asked to take them, but no one can because its too expensive to transport them and maintain them. So, there is no option but to kill them.

    You say that the land is not fenced. Of course not, 50% of Colombia is covered by the Amazon. Colombian biodiversity is one of the richest in the world, and as you may suspect, fences are not always good for biodiversity.

    Lastly, if you make Colombia a hippo sanctuary, you would be destroying a major part of that biodiversity.

    Your article is funny anyways… Cheers,