The Inter-agency Committee of Flora and Fauna of Antioquia (CIFFA) released the warning after receiving reports of the hippos roaming free in Magdalena Medio, Antioquia.
According to the report, the 10 hippos are loose and have been breeding without proper inoculations, posing a threat to not only nearby communities but also ecosystems.
According to recent counts, at least 60 hippos now reside in the Napoles “theme-park”.
Adult hippos can reach between 9ft and 14ft in length and weigh up to 3,500 kg. Although hippos are herbivores, their charge can be deadly.
In 2009, “Pepe” the hippo escaped from the former estate of deceased drug trafficker Pablo Escobar and remained in the swamps of Magdalena Medio. However “Pepe” was exterminated reportedly due to the threat he posed to the community, alongside a female hippo and calf that were with him.
Antioquia official Luis Alfonso Escobar said the kill order was issued “as a last resort” because the three animals had become public nuisances and safety hazards, killing seven calves, destroying crops and knocking down several fences.
Pepe was a descendant of four hippos that Escobar bought in the 1980s to populate his private wild animal park at Hacienda Napoles, a 5,500-acre ranch and leisure palace in west Colombia.
Officials believe the hippos could also be carrying unnamed diseases and present a threat to the ecosystem.
A resolution has not yet been reached.
- Killing of hippo in Colombia sparks outcry (Los Angeles Times)
- Hippopotamus Fact File (National Geographic)
- Hipopótamos del Parque Temático Nápoles se estarían reproduciendo de forma descontrolada (El Espectador)