Removing Colombian drug lord’s hippos to cost US$3.5 million

COLOMBIA said yesterday it was making progress on the transfer of 70 hippopotamuses to overseas sanctuaries, but mitigating the havoc caused by this unusual legacy of deceased drug lord Pablo Escobar carries a hefty price tag: US$3.5 million (RM15.5 million).

The cocaine baron brought a small number of the African beasts to Colombia in the late 1980s. But after his death in 1993 the animals were left to roam freely in a hot, marshy area of Antioquia department, where environmental authorities have been helpless to curb their numbers, which now stand at 150 animals.