Hippos Roam Colombian Drug Lord’s Abandoned Ranch

Thursday, January 23rd, 2003

Legendary was Xanadu where Kubla Khan decreed his stately pleasure dome. Today, almost as legendary is Florida’s Xanadu…or Pablo Escobar’s 7,400-acre Hacienda Napoles. From Hippos Roam Colombian Drug Lord’s Abandoned Ranch:

Ten hippopotamuses roam wild among the ruins of the late drug kingpin Pablo Escobar’s abandoned country home, leaving huge footprints in the mud and scaring the wits out of the local cows.

The hippos are all that remain of Escobar’s private zoo. In his heyday in the 1980s, Escobar imported elephants, rhinoceroses, lions, giraffes and other exotic beasts to his lavish ranch at Puerto Triunfo, 100 miles north of Bogota in central Colombia, as a testament to his fabulous wealth.

Most of the animals were confiscated by the authorities and transferred to zoos after the cocaine lord was gunned down by police in 1993 in Medellin. But the hippos were left behind.

Despite the absence of a keeper, the Nile hippos — some of which weigh 2 tonnes — have flourished and reproduced on a muddy lake near the Magdalena River as if it were their natural terrain. And for six of the hippos born there, it is.

How Hearst/Kane is this?

Escobar built an airport, artificial lakes, swimming pools, a bull-ring, a garden with 100,000 fruit trees and towering cement dinosaurs. He assembled his menagerie to entertain guests, who included politicians, judges, soccer stars and beauty queens.

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