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The Lounge>Druglord hippopotami threatening Colombia
Rain Man 01:28 PM 02-10-2019
I'll copy the whole article since CBS puts annoying loud ads in their links, which I find to be rude.

My key questions are:

1. How did they forget the hippos?
2. Pablo Escobar's estate is a theme park? Whose idea was that?

Pablo Escobar's hippos keep multiplying and Colombia doesn’t know how to stop it

Fishing villages, small boats and children at play dot the landscape along the shallow waterways of Colombia's Magdalena River. But an invasive species left behind by one of the country's most infamous figures is threatening the ecosystem and, possibly, a way of life.

That species? Hippos. The giants, native only to Africa, are now running wild in Colombia, reports CBS News' Manuel Bojorquez.

The story of Colombia's hippos starts in Villa Napoles, the former estate of Pablo Escobar, who in his heyday had four hippos smuggled there for his private zoo.

Escobar's ranch housed hundreds of exotic animals including rhinos, elephants and giraffes. By the 1980s, his cocaine empire made him the wealthiest and most feared drug lord in the world. For Colombia, it was a reign of terror. He's said to be responsible for some 7,000 deaths.

Around the time Escobar met his death in the early 90s, the government relocated most of the animals but not the hippos who were basically allowed to roam free.

"People forgot the hippos," said biologist David Echeverri, who works with CORNARE, the environmental agency in charge of tracking and managing the hippos in the region. He estimates there are about 50 or more of them now.

The area where they roam is a paradise for the animals who have no predators and ample food and water. But they're getting too close to people. It's not uncommon to spot a three-ton hippo walking around town. Locals call them the "village pets," but Echeverri said the "dangerous" and "territorial" species is anything but.

In Africa, hippos cause more human deaths than any other large animal. So far, there are no known attacks in Colombia.

The majority of the hippos still live inside Escobar's former estate, which was turned into a theme park in 2007, but the issue is that they can't keep them contained. Some have been able to get out which is how they are turning up in other areas.

Oberdan Martinez runs a theme park there, where the hippos are a main attraction. According to Martinez, Colombia's the only place you'll see a pack of hippos in the wild outside of Africa. He also said it's more common to see a hippo in that area than a pig.

There's concern the hippos have already started to displace native wildlife, like the manatee, and keep getting too close for comfort.

In the past year, fisherman Pablo Jose Mejia has come across five hippos that ventured outside of the theme park. But he said they're like dogs – if you know how to deal with them, you'll be fine.

But Echeverri fears, with an ever-growing hippo population, it's only a matter of time until someone gets hurt and killing the animals has proven highly unpopular.

"We can't just kill the hippos and the other solution is relocating hippos, sterilizing hippos," Echeverri said, although he acknowledged that would be an expensive and dangerous process.

With limited funds, it's a solution unlikely to stem the tide on a legacy that just keeps resurfacing.
Frazod 01:35 PM 02-10-2019
They don't know how to stop it? I'm fairly sure this would work.

They might want to up the caliber a bit, though.
wazu 01:36 PM 02-10-2019
"We can't just kill the hippos."

Yeah, wouldn't want to divert any resources away from the kidnapping of tourists.
Frazod 01:41 PM 02-10-2019
Originally Posted by wazu:
"We can't just kill the hippos."

Yeah, wouldn't want to divert any resources away from the kidnapping of tourists.
I guess I quit reading before that bit.

Newsflash - that's exactly what you do to an invasive species. When you're talking about Asian carp, the methods get a little tricky. With a fucking hippo, not so much.
Rain Man 01:46 PM 02-10-2019

Baby Lee 01:54 PM 02-10-2019
Couple weeks back, The Grand Tour went to Columbia, and part of the trip was checking those hippos.

They also uncovered this

Frazod 01:58 PM 02-10-2019

The fifteen most dangerous animals to humans:

15. Sharks (6 deaths per year)
14. Wolves (10 deaths per year)
13. Lions (22+ deaths per year)
12. Elephants (500 deaths per year)
11. Hippos (500 deaths per year)
10. Tapeworms (700 deaths per year)
9. Crocodiles (1,000 deaths per year)
8. Ascaris roundworms (4,500 deaths per year)
7. Tsetse flies (10,000 deaths per year)
6. Assassin bugs (12,000 deaths per year)
5. Freshwater snails (20,000+ deaths per year)
4. Dogs (35,000 deaths per year)
3. Snakes (100,000 deaths per year)
2. Other humans (437,000 deaths per year)
1. Mosquitoes (750,000 deaths per year)

Sharks apparently get a bad rap. I'm still not going in the water, though. DAMN YOU SPIELBERG! :-)
Reerun_KC 02:03 PM 02-10-2019
Freshwater snails?
Rain Man 02:06 PM 02-10-2019
Originally Posted by Reerun_KC:
Freshwater snails?
I wouldn't have expected that. But it seems like they're less of the killer than they are an accessory to the crime.
Bowser 02:09 PM 02-10-2019
Assassin Bugs
Frazod 02:17 PM 02-10-2019
Originally Posted by Bowser:
Assassin Bugs

Reerun_KC 02:26 PM 02-10-2019
WTH is an assassin buggy?
Rain Man 02:42 PM 02-10-2019
What the heck? Who designs these things? That's not even being mean. That's just total jerk-itude.

(CNN)The nickname given to the insects that spread Chagas disease is somewhat bittersweet: kissing bugs.

Their name stems from the fact that they like biting humans around their lips and faces as they sleep, after which they defecate into the wound with feces that harbor an infectious parasite, Trypanasoma cruzi.

The parasite then enters the bloodstream and causes Chagas disease, also known as trypanosomiasis.
ThaVirus 04:07 PM 02-10-2019
I've read that it was once proposed to introduce hippos to the Louisiana bayou as a way to fight a meat shortage.

Imagine hippos in the swamps all over southeast America..
Rain Man 04:28 PM 02-10-2019
Originally Posted by ThaVirus:
I've read that it was once proposed to introduce hippos to the Louisiana bayou as a way to fight a meat shortage.

Imagine hippos in the swamps all over southeast America..
I wonder how they'd do. Our swamps and rivers seem to have more stuff to get tangled up in than the little bit that I've seen in Africa.

It makes me think about how size is not a particular advantage any more. 20,000 years ago, big cavemen beat up smaller cavemen, and hippos went wherever they wanted. Today, a big guy is just a bigger target for a bullet, and we can identify invasive hippos but can't seem to control invasive zebra mussels.
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