Colombia set to sterilise Pablo Escobar's 'cocaine hippos': Here's why

Colombia has decided to sterilise the descendants of hippopotamuses imported by drug lord Pablo Escobar.

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When in 1993, drug lord Pablo Escobar was killed in Colombia, most of the animals in his possession died or were sent to zoos. Among all the pets, Escobar also owned four hippopotamuses. Now officials estimate that around 170 hippos descended from Escobar's original herd, now roam in Colombia. 

These hippos are now set to be sterilised after causing havoc. On Friday, an official also said that four hippos -- two adult females and two juvenile males were already surgically sterilized. 

"We are in a race against time in terms of permanent environmental and ecosystem impacts," Susana Muhamad, Colombia's environmental minister, said in a statement. 

These hippos are described as aggressive by Colombian officials. This invasive species is reportedly causing harm to the ecosystem of Colombia and hence after a year-long debate and discussions, the officials have finally decided to sterilise them. 

The original batch of four hippopotamuses was imported to Colombia by Escobar to add to his private zoo, set up to impress his guests in the 1980s. After Escobar's assassination, these hippos escaped and took refuge in an artificial pond and reproduced. 

Gradually attracting the affection of locals but with time, they become dangerous for the country's ecosystem. Now, the government is aiming to sterilise 40 hippos each year. 

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