Friday, September 04, 2009

Hungry Hungry Hippos

Maybe you heard about the wildlife menagerie assembled by Pablo Escobar, a Columbian drug lord gunned down by police some years ago. He had invested some of his wealth in an extravagant collection of exotic animals. Most were taken by local zoos after the cocaine king’s death.

But the collection included nine hippos (now multiplied to 19; some reports say two dozen). No one could take the hippos. They remain in the area but without secure fences or a reliable food source.

The hippos were in the news in July when they got out, attacked some humans, and killed a few cattle (not usual behavior for happy hippos; a sign of food insecurity). Fearing for public safety the government arranged for one to be shot. Animal rights groups intervened before its mate could be killed as well. But these creatures are non-native and could wreak some serious havoc with the ecosystem if they took they went native and took to the jungles.

It must be hard to fence in a hippo, much less a whole herd of them. And what about the 80-100 pounds a day of grass or hay it takes to feed even one? I bet these are some hungry hippos.

“If there is anyone out there who needs 19 hippos and who has a few Colombian pesos to spare, please get in touch,” writes Wildlife Extra.

Want a hippo? This little guy is awfully appealing, in a Moomintroll kind of way. But I understand they get bigger.

(Photo by Carlos Andres).


Shane said...

Wow, this must be in the running for the prize for "most unexpected post on Marti's blog!"

I heard this story on npr some time ago. It's funny to think that I could have a free hippo just for the shipping costs!

Keep keeping us on our toes, Marti!

Marti said...

I have many interests : - )

Surely there's a place in Farmland for one or two! And you guys are doing so well with chickens and kittens... wouldn't setting up a hippo preserve be a nice home-school project?

Marti said...

(By the way, this post DID defy my tagging system. I don't have a label for stories about large, chiefly aquatic African herbivorous mammals.)