The hippos, which were recently declared an invasive species in the country due to their spiked population, are set to be sent to two sanctuaries as part of a deal between the local Antioquia government and various institutions involved. Sixty hippos will be transported to a sanctuary in India, while 10 will be sent to Ostok Sanctuary in Mexico, as they cannot be sent back to their native Africa due to a potential risk to the ecosystem.
The $3.5 million deal will allocate resources to build boxes and pay for air transportation necessary in moving the hippos out of Colombia in order to combat their population boom with an estimated 130 to 160 hippos present beyond the late Escobar's former Hacienda Napoles ranch in Medellín. The government had previously attempted to control the rising population by using castrations and "shots" of contraceptive darts.
Escobar initially had just one male and three female hippos present at Hacienda Napoles, which were part of his collection of exotic animals amassed during the 1980s. Most of the other animals were relocated after the drug trafficker's death in 1993, however, the hippos were too difficult to transport due to their massive size.