Once upon a time, infamous drug cartel leader Pablo Escobar decided to use a portion of his obscene wealth to establish his own private zoo at his home in Colombia.
What began as four hippos — dubbed “cocaine hippos” due to their association with Escobar — over the past almost forty years has grown into a population of 100 hippos living in Colombia’s Magdalena River.
They wound up there through no fault of their own and are just making a home for themselves. But now, the Colombian government wants to kill them all off.
We can’t let that happen!
Luckily, these hippos aren’t without defenders.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) is suing the government of Colombia to stop these killings, and the case is ongoing in court.
But already, the case has yielded an amazing new result.
The U.S. courts became involved in a small portion of the lawsuit — and for the first time, have now legally declared animals as persons under U.S. law.
In this particular instance, that includes the hippos!
Legal personhood for the hippos is a huge deal, because it means they (and maybe in the future, other animals) can have lawyers represent their interests, and to have matters concerning their health and wellbeing heard in court.
Legal personhood is a hugely important tool for protecting animals’ rights and preventing cruelty.
Right now, it’s being used to help these descendants of Escobar’s cocaine hippos.
In the future, it could potentially help neglected and abused animals at roadside zoos, or whales at SeaWorld.
In Colombia, animals — including these hippos — actually already have legal standing, meaning they can have lawyers and bring lawsuits to ensure their interests are protected.
According to Newsweek, in July, Colombian attorney Luis Domingo Gómez Maldonado filed a lawsuit on behalf of the animals to prevent them from being slaughtered, claiming that sterilisation was a preferable alternative.
But having it in the U.S. now too gives them one more leg up in this battle for their lives.
Now that the U.S. and Colombia are both in agreement that hippos have legal personhood, it’s time for the Colombian government to also abandon its horrible plan to kill off these hippos who did nothing wrong.
If the hippos can’t live where they’ve been existing in the Magdalena River, that’s fine — but there are other alternatives besides mass slaughter.
Sign the petition to demand protections for these 100 innocent hippos!
And I mean…Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, the most famous drug dealer on earth was shot dead in 1993.
A man with more cash than Bezos, Pablo amassed a huge collection of exotic animals for his private zoo in the Medellin.
Illegally smuggled into the country, the media quickly nicknamed them ‘Cocaine Hippos’.
The ‘cocaine hippos’ are the descendants of animals Escobar illegally imported to his Colombian ranch in the 1980s when he reigned over the country’s drug trade.
After his death most animals were relocated with the exception of four hippos.
Although its generally believed they escaped, rumours were rampant they were intentionally set free. Their numbers greatly increased in the wild, today it’s estimated over one hundred hippos are swimming in the waterways, and are believed to be the biggest herd outside Africa
Some autorities might approve extreme measures such as culling the animals. They say the hippos pose an immediate threat to the local ecology and humans.
Other experts believe they are “restoring ecological services” that have been lost for thousands of years owing to “human-driven extinctions.”
And we say: They are like the village pets.
People must be more afraid of the snakes than the hippos.
In addition: Rescuing them is a matter of principle, and really part of a larger movement that works to ensure that the interests of animals are represented in court.
We are not asking for a new law to be passed. We only demand that animals have the opportunity to enforce the rights already granted to them.
Therefore-sign and share the Petition
My best regards to all, Venus