Hippos bought by one of the world’s most notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar are now thriving in the rivers of Colombia.
Researchers said when big herbivorous animals vanished, their absence starved the soil of nutrients and even altered the plant growth and water availability.
Scientists said the “cocaine hippos,” which are non-native herbirvores, will help to revitalize and enrich the country’s river ecosystems.
The hippos now living in the wild in the country’s riverbanks are now at 80.
Pablo Escobar fueled its drug empire from an underworld syndicate. It caters mainly the people from the US addicted to using cocaine.
With his income peaking at more than $30 billion, he spent lavishly on different things for his family.
Among these is when he built a zoo with exotic animals transported from around the world. It included the four hippos he imported in 1981.
But when his empire came down since his death in 1993, animals were located to new homes.
However, authorities had a hard time finding new sanctuaries for the kingpin’s hippopotamuses, which are known to be territorial and dangerous.
Before the hippos were brought to Colombia, the last herbivore existed in South America was the large-headed llama known as Hemiauchenia paradoxa. It vanished 11,000 years ago.
Like the llama, the researchers assumed hippos may distribute nutrients — via poop.