Pablo Escobars infamous cocaine hippos sterilised by Colombia

A group of hippos, part of the infamous legacy of notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, have been sterilised.

Escobar illegally imported a range of exotic animals during his crime spree, including a male and female hippo, commonly known as the "cocaine hippos".

A growing population of hippos have been taking over the countryside near his former ranch since their arrival as they procreated with each other.

Escobar was killed by Colombian National Police in his hometown a day after his 44th birthday in 1993.

The Colombian government have now sterilised 24 of more than 80 animals that were illegally imported by the former drug lord, making them infertile.

A chemical has been administered to the creatures that will make them infertile, BBC reports.

Environmentalists in Colombia have claim the creatures are an invasive species and have pushed away the native fauna from the land.

Many campaigners have called for the animals to be culled.

When police seized Escobar's luxury estate back, Hacienda Nápoles, back in 1993, most of his illegally imported animals were transported to zoos across the country – apart from the hippos.

Colombian biologist Nataly Castelblanco told the BBC: "It was logistically difficult to move them around, so the authorities just left them there, probably thinking the animals would die."

But with no natural predators in South America, the hippos have multiplied.

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Experts claim they started spreading through the River Magdalena, one of the country's main waterways.

There are reportedly a number of ways the animals could affect the local ecosystem, according to scientists studying the creatures.

If left to their own devices to carry on reproducing the hippos reportedly have a good chance of displacing native species which are already under threat of extinction, like the manatee.

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They could also change the chemical compositions of waterways, which would have a damming effect on fisheries.

But some studies suggest they could also help the environment.

Pablo Escobar was one of the most notorious criminals of all time – he was the founder of the brutal Medellín drugs cartel which wreaked havoc in the 1980s.

The cartel were responsible for assassinations, bombings, torture and kidnappings. Former drug lord Escobar was once thought to be one of the world's richest men before he was killed.

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