Scientists warn that a rapidly growing population of hippopotamuses that were introduced to Colombia decades ago by drug kingpin Pablo Escobar should be culled to preserve the local ecosystem, according to a study published this month.
Researchers warned in the study, published in the journal Biological Conservation, that hippos, the "largest invasive animal" in the world, are likely to colonize habitats around the country with serious environmental impact, NBC News reports.
Hippos, which are not native to Colombia, were illegally imported in the 1980s by Escobar — the narcoterrorist and drug trafficker who was killed in 1994 — to create a private zoo at his Hacienda Nápoles ranch. While many of Escobar's animals were relocated after his death, the hippos remained because of the difficulty of capturing them, the study said.
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