Cornare decided to implement the measure to control the overpopulation of the species that inhabits in Magdalena Medio
Leer en español: ¿Exportación de hipopótamos desde Colombia?
The arrival of hippos to Colombia occurred in the eighties, when the drug trafficker Pablo Escobar imported four specimens to live in La Hacienda Napoles. This property belonged to Escobar and had an area of almost 3,000 hectares. Over time, this underwater mammals species dissipated in the territory of Magdalena Medio Antioqueño, becoming the largest population of hippos outside of Africa.
Considering that the place where these animals live does not have natural predators for this species, as are felines or crocodiles, the hippos have the optimal conditions to reproduce and travel freely around the village of Doradal in the municipality of Puerto Triunfo Antioquia.
It is estimated that there are approximately 50 specimens of hippopotamus in Colombian territory, which alarms the community and Cornare Corporation (Regional Autonomous Corporation of the Negro and Nare Rivers), environmental authority of the region, since these naturally aggressive animals have invaded the rivers where the community performs fishing for their sustenance. Additionally, the species has appropriated the river slopes to graze.
As for the environmental impact, there is the damage generated by the footprints of the hippos and the amount of grass that they can get to eat daily, approximately 50 kilos for each hippopotamus. Additionally, the hippos are attributed the displacement of species such as the otter, the chigüiro, and the manatee that previously inhabited the area.
When and where would they be exported?
The first exports of Colombian hippopotamuses would be made to Ecuador and Uruguay. The exact date has not yet been agreed upon, since for these exports there are series of permits from both countries must be complied with, which are subject to legal and health requirements that could take several days.
For his part, Oscar Jairo Orozco, director of the Hacienda Napoles Theme Park, revealed some details of the mammals’ transfer. The two specimens that will be sent to Ecuador will have as final destination a zoo located in the interior of the country. The transfer will be carried out by land, with compliance with all rules and for the welfare of both hippos.
For the case of the two specimens bound for Uruguay, the transfer will be made by air, taking all necessary precautions to mobilize a cargo of such magnitude and importance. The weight of hippos could reach up to three (3) tons, which makes the logistics for transport a job that demands precision and maximum caution.
As a measure of containment to the overpopulation, six (6) mammals in Colombian zoos have been relocated and the sterilization of Juaco and Matildo was carried out in November 2014, hippopotamuses of the Hacienda Napoles Theme Park.
In conjunction with the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cornare Corporation and other entities, agreements are being made to export hippos to Central America, North America, and Africa. During the last years, approaches have been made with entities that are willing to receive this species and provide the special habitat that they require for their preservation.
Latin American Post | Gisselle Rodriguez Pamplona
Translated from “¿Exportación de hipopótamos desde Colombia?”