Pablo Escobar's Cocaine Hippos Will Be Given Birth Control to Try and Stop Their Reproduction
Some had suggested that they needed to be culled previously but scientists are hoping this may be a better solution.
There may finally be a solution for Pablo Escobar’s rapidly reproducing cocaine hippos: birth control. While officials have tried neutering the large animals in the past, the process is dangerous and only 11 out of 80 have hippos have been sterilized thus far.
Escobar brought one male and three females to Colombia from a private zoo in the 1980s and they have multiplied. Some scientists have called for the animals to be culled as they now have made their home in the Magdalena river basin, 100 miles from Medellin, but many aren’t in agreement with that action.
On Friday, the regional environmental agency Cornare announced that it had begun trying to control the hippo population with the contraceptive drug GonaCon, and that 24 hippos had already been treated with the new method, CNN reported.
The agency called the efforts “a much cheaper option,” in a statement.
“However it is still complex since experts suggest giving three doses, based on studies and comparisons made in other large animals such as horses,” the statement read.
Scientists plan on tracking whether it’s working by testing the hormone levels in the hippos' feces. It’s the first time the agency is employing the measure.
The presence of the hippos is having negative effects on the waters they are occupying, scientists say. Their waste impacts the fish and ultimately humans, according to researchers.
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