Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar brought to his lavish personal zoo several animals from Africa. After the government confiscated Escobar’s estate, they broke up his zoo and sent most of the animals elsewhere, but they left the hippos alone–one male, three females. They continued to live–and breed–in the lake.
Some of them broke out and wandered into the Magdalena River. The river is slow moving and has plenty of shallows, perfect for larger animals which don’t actually swim but push themselves off banks, gliding through the water. Moreover, the region never experiences drought. Here, conditions for hippos are idyllic.
“Colombians are having a hard time trying to figure out what to do with Escobar’s legacy – and that includes his property, (…) All those contradictions are still alive there, and I think now in the most absurd way – in hippos reproducing in a river.”