You may recall that last year I broke the news that Australia had engaged in a land war with emu’s in the winter of 1932 and lost. Well now I’m here to tell you about another interesting event that seems to have been lost to history, revolving the relationship between humans and animals. So without further adieu, I give you the tale Pablo Escobar and his hippopotamus’.
Pablo Escobar is a man who needs no introduction. He was at point the biggest drug dealer in Columbia, with a fortune rivaling a fortune 500 company. The man waged guerrilla warfare against the country of Columbia who was being supported in the War on Drugs by the U.S. Pablo is one of the most controversial men in history, portraying himself as a modern day Robin Hood, all the while bringing bloodshed and chaos to a country he claimed to love.
Escobar’s star never seemed to fade, even after being gunned down on a Medellin roof in 1993. In the last few years he’s been the subject of multiple movies and TV shows, the most famous being Netflix’s Narcos but my personal favourite portrayal is by none other then Vinny Chase in the cinematic catastrophe Medellin seen in HBO’s hit-show Entourage.
But this blog isn’t about Pablo Escobar, as stated above if you wanna learn about him there’s a plethora of media out there. I’m here to talk about his Hippos.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m an avid Wikipedia visitor. I’m probably more embarrassed by the amount of things, I’ve wiki’d over the amount of porn I’ve watched. Like most people who find themselves on Wikipedia, I found myself falling into a deep whole. Every time there was a blue-link I had to click on it, to learn about that topic until I had completely forgotten what I originally searched in the first place.
The page I landed on was about Hippopotamus’. Hippos are very interesting creatures as they actually have more in common with whales and dolphins, compared to land mammals. They are also one of the most dangerous animals out there when it comes to human-animal relations. Approximately 2,900 people are killed each year in Africa by the Hippopotamus. That’s about 2,895 more people killed annually compared to Hollywood favourite predator, the shark.
All our lives we had been taught that wild hippos could only live in Africa. There were rumours of a North American house hippo in the late ’90s but they seem to have disappeared since. In the early 1900s the U.S. government introduced the ‘American Hippo Bill’ which looked to transport hippos from Africa to the U.S. The bill never came to fruition probably because the last time the U.S. imported something from Africa to it’s Southern States, it ended in Civil War.
Enter Pablo Escobar, it’s the 80s and Pablo is at his peak, being the family man he is, he decides to turn his estate into a zoo. Incidentally this would go on to inspire the Matt Damon classic We Bought A Zoo. There were plenty of Africa’s finest creatures at Pablo’s zoo, Pablo had: elephants, antelopes, ostriches, giraffes and of course hippos. Hippos are the protagonist of our story because they are the ones who ended up living quite the interesting life.
After Pablo was killed, there were a lot of questions of what to do with all his wealth and property, this included all the animals Pablo had acquired over the years. All the other animals being the betas they were, were rounded up and sent to different Zoos but the hippos stood their ground and soon it was decided to just leave the hippos where they were. This story has already started to poke some holes in the bible. We all know the story of Noah’s ark, in it Noah gathers every animal on the planet, last time I checked a hippo was an animal. If a country that dealt with Narco terrorism on the reg couldn’t tame a couple hippos, I have a hard time believing that a dude named Noah could not only tame two hippos, but keep them docile for a whole flood, but I digress.
Without being able to round up the hippos, the Columbian government figured they would eventually die, after all, hippos live in Africa not South America. This turned out to be fake news. When Pablo died in 1993, he left four hippos, in 2007, the hippos had multiplied to 16! The hippos started to become so accustom to their new home that in 2009, Pablo’s cherished hippo Pepe was sadly killed after following in his owners footsteps and attacking a couple people. Currently there are over 40 hippos living in Pablo’s old residence, leaving this journalist with a few questions.
- Is cocaine the answer to animals survival? Think about it, if I had told you there were hippos in Columbia, you would’ve called me a liar but here we have 40 hippos just chilling. I don’t want to victim blame but maybe if rhinoceros’ started sniffing lines maybe they wouldn’t always find themselves on the endangered list.
- Was Pablo Escobar one of the world’s greatest conservationists?
- America has to invest in hippos’ now, right? I can understand why they decided against importing hippos in the early 1900s, we had hardly mastered flight, what were a bunch of cajuns going to do with hippos. But the U.S. can call itself the leader of the free-world and not have single wild hippo. This reminds me of Parks and Rec when Andy acquired all the world’s lions during the model U.N. summit. It’s not that you necessarily need hippos but who are we to say they won’t become major players in the Wars to come. I saw Black Panther those Wakandan’s were riding rhinos like it ain’t no thang. A hippo is a way better war machine then a rhino, rhino’s are restricted solely to land while hippos can be riden across water and land making them the animal version of the DUKW. They also can be a source of nutrition as they were described by both politicians and newspapers in 1910 of being like “lake-cow bacon”. If that doesn’t get the mouth watering then I don’t know what does.