UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

July 12, 2009

WAR ON DRUGS CLAIMS ANOTHER VICTIM


Reuters, UK - Drug lord Pablo Escobar's hippo died the same way he did, hunted down and shot by the authorities for posing a danger to the public. The African-born hippopotamus that escaped three years ago from a ranch once owned by Escobar was killed on orders of the government, authorities said.

Cocaine king Escobar, who was gunned down by police on a rooftop in the city of Medellin in 1993, was so flush with cash that he flew in hundreds of exotic animals, including kangaroos, flamingos, elephants, rhinos, and nine hippos.

Many were given away to zoos after his death and collapse of his cartel. But two dozen hippos continued to live and mate on his former estate in northern Colombia.

A male and a female escaped in 2006, freely roamed the wetlands near the Magdalena River and even reproduced in the wild. They were rarely seen and became something of a local legend until two journalists found them grazing 65 miles away from the ranch last month.

Colombia's environmental agency ordered the animals killed, saying they were carriers of disease and posed a risk to local communities.

Colombians were shocked by television images broadcast on Friday of the carcass of the male hippopotamus surrounded by hunters and soldiers dressed in camouflage. Animal rights groups denounced the killing.

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