Pablo Escobar’s Pooping Hippos Are Polluting Colombia’s Lakes
by Brigit Katz/Smithsonianmag.com
In 1978, drug lord Pablo Escobar purchased a sprawling Colombian estate that he filled with an assortment of extravagant and unusual features—among them a soccer field; statues of dinosaurs; a bullfighting arena; and a menagerie filled with rhinos, giraffes, zebras and four hippos. After Escobar was shot dead in 1993, the country’s government seized control of his estate and relocated most of the animals living there to zoos. But the hippos, of which Escobar was said to be particularly fond, were deemed too aggressive and dangerous to move.
Left to their own devices, the hippos began roaming Hacienda Nápoles, as the property is known, and beyond. They formed a feral population in both artificial lakes and the Magdalena River, and have since been spotted as far as 93 miles away from the estate. Now numbering between 65 and 80 individuals, this herd of lumbering creatures may pose a problem to Colombia’s aquatic ecosystems—a poopy problem, to be precise.
“They only eat on land,” Jonathan Shurin, a biologist at the University of California, San Diego, tells Peter Rowe of the Los Angeles Times. “Then they come into the water and crap all day.”
In their native African habitat, hippos’ prolific bathroom behavior…
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.
She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – one daughter-in-law; Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with her husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescues.