In the 1980s, Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar built himself a zoo, because even brutal gang leaders love fuzzy animals. Escobar smuggled exotic animals into his personal zoo, including one male and three female hippos. Escobar died 20 years ago, leaving his zoo to, well, the animals.
As it turns out, the Colombian climate is just perfect for hippos. Today, Escobar's zoo has lead to the birth of between 50 and 60 hippos. Most of the hippos live in the man made lakes in Escobar's zoo, but some have broken free and caused trouble. Fishermen on the river are scared of them, as they can do damage to their small fishing boats. Farmers are frustrated because the hippos destroy crops and even crush small cows.
In Africa, their homeland, seasonal droughts prevent too much breeding, keeping population sizes small. But in Colombia, the warm, wet weather is perfect for year-round mating. Scientists have found that breeding in Colombia also starts much earlier. While African hippos breed between the ages of seven and nine, Colombian hippos get started at the young age of three. A San Diego University ecologist told BBC, "It's just like this crazy wildlife experiment that we're left with. Gosh! I hope this goes well."