Hippo Hunt Divides Colombia
Animal rights groups decry containment plan
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Sep 11, 2009 10:59 AM CDT
A hippo is seen in the Smithsonian National Zoo in this file photo.   (AP Photo/National Zoo, Mehgan Murphy)

(Newser) – Pepe the Hippo has become a divisive figure in Colombia. When the animal escaped from his birthplace near Pablo Escobar’s pleasure palace, the government and some environmentalists organized an intense hunt that eventually ended when a team of more than a dozen soldiers killed the runaway beast. But some animal rights groups say the hunt was uncalled for, the New York Times reports.

"Colombia is absolute paradise for hippos, with its climate, vegetation and no natural predators," says an animal expert. Escobar imported them, and 16 years after the drug lord’s death, the country’s still unsure what to do with them. For now, in part on the advice of wildlife specialists, it’s preventing them from spreading by any means necessary. Animal rights groups aren’t pleased. “In Colombia, there is no documented case of an attack,” says one. “No sufficient motive to sacrifice one of these animals.”

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Showing 3 of 4 comments
Sep 11, 2009 8:09 AM CDT
transplanting an animal into an environment different from its own always means taking a chance to put the environmental equilibrium out of balance. remember Australia and the rabbits. my suggestion: take a gun, have a great weekend and zap them all.
Sep 11, 2009 4:27 AM CDT
"I shoot the hippopotamus with bullets made of platinum, because if I use leaden ones, his hide is sure to flatten 'em." --Hilaire Belloc
Sep 11, 2009 4:22 AM CDT
C'mon people, it's not a "sacrifice" it's environmentalism. Like bringing rabbits to Australia. They said themselves it is a perfect habitat for them and they have no natural predators. If allowed to proliferate they will be just multiply like crazy and hippos are quite aggressive.