Pablo Escobar's Pet Hippos Are Still Alive (And Causing Big Problems)
Escobar lived large here in his lush fiefdom 100 miles east of Medellin, far from the teeming slums where he began his life of crime. He built a bullring, an airstrip, an ersatz Jurassic Park with half a dozen immense concrete dinosaurs. He stocked a private wild animal park with hundreds of animals, including elephants, camels, giraffes, ostriches and zebras. He installed four hippos in one of the estate's 12 man-made lakes.
Today, Hacienda Napoles is in ruins, taken over by jungle foliage and bats. The sprawling Spanish-style mansion has been gutted, scavenged by treasure hunters looking for stashes of gold and cash buried under the floors. Escobar is long gone, cut down in a hail of police gunfire.
But the hippos are still here. [Los Angeles Times]
Yeah, they are. Hippos are indestructible. They live underwater, plus they're bulletproof and furious. That's why Escobar only needed four of them. Anyway:
…the hippos were never claimed because they were too large and ornery to move. Now the original four have multiplied to 16 and, far from starving to death, as some expected, they have learned to forage like cows. In fact, local authorities say they represent a safety hazard -- and are standing in the way of plans to redevelop the late drug lord's estate.
See, this is just another one of those crazy fiascos that would never happen in a million years if it wasn't for the war on drugs. Seriously. This is real life, not some comic book where evil villains like Escobar acquire their powers from a freak radioactive disaster. The bad guy with an epic fantasyland super-fortress used to be a fictional character until we came up with a system of international drug control that was so flawed and corrupt that it actually became possible for the meanest son-of-a-bitch on the face of the earth to afford his own heard of zebras.