Pablo's Hippos

Cleaning up after drug lords is a never-ending process:

African zoologists are in Colombia to advise local authorities on what to do with dozens of hippos roaming around the abandoned zoo of late drug lord Pablo Escobar in the north of the country.

Colombia was shocked last month at news that one of the giant beasts, who had escaped from Escobar's Hacienda Napoles, had been hunted down and shot on order of the government.

Bogota-based beer company Bavaria, owned by SABMiller, invited wildlife experts Michael Knight and Peter Morkel from South Africa and Tanzania to find the best way to deal with the surviving animals.

Wouldn't you want to put them in a zoo? Wait--they did that with most of the animals that Escobar had in his extravagant zoo, but the hippos were deemed to big and dangerous. The death of the hippo named "Pepe" is especially heartbreaking:

The slain hippopotamus, called Pepe, was killed by a .375 caliber round through the heart.

It was a fate not unlike that of Escobar, who controlled most of the world's cocaine supply before being gunned down by police on a Medellin rooftop in 1993. He was so flush with cash in the 1980s that he flew in hundreds of exotic animals, including kangaroos, elephants, rhinos and nine hippos.

The experts will spend a week at Hacienda Napoles to come up with a plan for caring for the hippos that are still living and multiplying on the estate.

The zoologists will also help look for Pepe's mate, Matilda, who escaped along with him in 2006, and their calf.

The mother and child are living in the wild near the Magdalena River, according to local residents who catch sight of them from time to time.

The government called off the hunt for Matilda following the scandal caused by Pepe's killing.

Nine hippos? Nine? Good God, that is extravagant. And, in true "Jurassic Park" mode, they're breeding! And, as everyone knows, nature will defeat man unless man can use machines to fight back against nature. Or, something like that.

Father preferred to shoot and stuff his African wildlife simply because the upkeep was ridiculous. I can't imagine the impact a family of hippos would have on the South American environment. It would be akin to introducing beavers into a non-beaver environment. Hippo dams and beaver dams are pretty dangerous things, as one denies electricity to developing nations and the other can flood an entire city.