Animals History

Pablo Escobar’s Bloat of Hippos


When he died in 1993, Pablo Escobar was one of the wealthiest men in the entire world. He made Forbes’ list of international billionaires for seven years straight. His drug empire was worth an estimated $30 billion and, by the end of the 80’s, he supplied 80% of the worlds cocaine.

With this wealth he owned an estate in Antioquia in Columbia. This estate held a private airport, a bullring, a cart racing track, sculpture garden, a collection of dinosaur skeletons and a private zoo filled with various exotic animals including elephants, zebras, giraffes and four hippos, three females and one male.

When Pablo Escobar was killed in 1993 most of the animals were taken into care, but the hippos were not, they escaped the zoo and fled into the rivers of North Columbia.

The hippos have thrived in an environment where they have no natural predators and are rapidly mutliplying. With an estimated 50-60 hippos in 2016 and this figure expected to double over the next few years.

However, hippos are very aggressive and territorial, and are the most deadly animal in Africa. They kill over 500 people per year, despite being vegetarian. Lions in comparison kill 100 people per year and sharks only 10.

pablos estate
Hacienda Nápoles – Pablo Escobar’s Estate

The hippos are also polluting the local rivers through the shear volume of poop they produce! This is flooding the water with excess nutrients stimulating noxious algae blooms and starving aquatic life of oxygen, killing off the local fish population.

The columbian authorities have tried to control the rapidly spreading population of hippos through castration, however despite their large size, hippos are notoriously stealthy! During the day they stay hidden under water with only their ears, eyes and nostrils visable making them very difficult to locate.

Bonus Fact:

As the title says, a group of Hippos is called a Bloat!
Find out different collective nouns for animals here:

My favourite is an “implausibility of Gnus”!

Further Reading:

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