Monday, May 08, 2023

Cocaine Hippos Redux

Remember those four hippos that Pablo Escobar had that were left to roam the wild in Colombia after he got iced by the feds?

Well, there are over a hundred and fifty of the things roaming Colombian bottomlands now.

And you can forget going down there and bagging a trophy because when the Colombian government tried that, the public outcry was so bad that they haven't authorized any hippo hunts since.

You think wild pigs can make a mess in a soybean field? Imagine what something that masses five times as much as the legendary "Hogzilla" can do to your tomato patch. Also, hippo feces is doing bad things to the waterways, because each hippo creates a few dozen pounds of the stuff a day.

Fortunately they don't breed like hogs, but they have pretty much zero natural predators down there, so the herd just keeps growing.

Extraordinary measures are being taken.
[C]astrating an unpredictable 4,000-pound semiaquatic beast isn't as easy as it sounds. Cristina Buitrago, a veterinarian for Cornare, a state-sponsored environmental group, has worked with a six-person team that lures hippos in with 180 pounds of carrots, knocks them out with darts carrying enough sedative to down three horses, and then flips their massive bodies to perform a castration. The five-hour operation can "cost up to $17,000 in a country that struggles to finance health care for humans," the Journal says. So far, the team has "fixed" 11 males and two females. "It's dirty. There's mud everywhere. You're soaked in sweat," Buitrago said. "This is not a practical way to solve the problem."