The Colombian Wildlife Conservancy has begun sterilizing so-called cocaine hippos that once belonged to drug lord Pablo Escobar. This measure will stop the growth of the animal population. Writes about this The Guardian.
Currently, the herd of hippos numbers about 80 individuals, and they live in a swampy river network located near Medellin. It was there that Escobar once held his Hacienda NÃ¡poles estate, on the territory of which there was a private private zoo. After Escobar’s death in 1993, four hippos escaped from the zoo. Animals deemed too dangerous to trap quickly adapted to their new home and have been breeding in the wild ever since.
This became a headache for Colombian officials, but instead of killing the fast-growing herd, the biologists decided to neuter the animals and began by administering doses of the contraceptive vaccine to 24 hippos.
Scientists at the Negro and Nare Regional Autonomous Corporation used a vaccine called GonaCon, which the USDA’s National Wildlife Research Center developed back in the early 1990s as a contraceptive for deer.
The USDA donated 55 doses of the drug to Colombians, which wildlife experts injected into hippos with darts. It is planned to sterilize all hippos.
The GonaCon vaccine acts on both males and females, stimulating the synthesis of antibodies that interfere with the production of sex hormones – gonadotropins, thereby reducing sexual activity and suppressing reproductive function. The vaccine lasts for several years.