Colombia had to spend $3.5M to relocate 70 of which animal that once belonged to infamous cartel boss Pablo Escobar?
The correct answer is Hippos.
See The Reason for That answer below:
Colombia is facing a daunting task of moving 70 hippos that were previously owned by the notorious drug lord, Pablo Escobar, to overseas sanctuaries, at a cost of $3.5 million. After Escobar’s death in 1993, the hippos were left to roam freely in a marshy area of the Antioquia department, where their population has been difficult to control. The country’s authorities have been unable to curb their numbers, and the booming population has led to conflicts with the local community, along with the destruction of the ecosystem in the Magdalena River basin.
To tackle this issue, authorities plan to capture and relocate 60 hippos to an unknown facility in India, and 10 to the Ostok Sanctuary in northern Mexico. The operation will involve luring the animals with bait into pens, where they will remain confined before being transferred in specially designed crates. The owner of the Ostok Sanctuary, Ernesto Zazueta, stated that the cost of the operation would be approximately $3.5 million.
This relocation effort comes after multiple failed attempts by the government to control the hippo population. In 2009, the government attempted to cull the animals, but a graphic photo that caused national outrage led to the suspension of the culling program. Currently, sterilization programs are in place, but the hippos continue to breed faster than they can be caught and castrated. The hippos are an invasive species, and studies have shown that their growing population is causing severe ecological damage to the Magdalena River basin, one of the most biodiverse regions in the world.
The hippos’ excrement alone is polluting the water, killing fish, and endangering the river’s rich biodiversity. The hippos have no natural predators, and their population is projected to grow exponentially. Studies estimate that by 2034, their numbers will reach 1,400. The transfer of these hippos to overseas sanctuaries is seen as a final life-saving measure to protect the ecosystem and the local community.
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