July 9, 2009 / 5:18 PM / 10 years ago

Drug lord's escaped hippo sighted in Colombia

BOGOTA (Reuters) - A hippopotamus that escaped three years ago from a zoo built by the late Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar has been spotted living in the wild near the Magdalena river, according to a local magazine.

Preferring the wetlands of northern Colombia to luxurious captivity after being imported from Africa, two of Escobar’s hippos ran from the zoo in 2006.

Not seen since, they became something of a local legend until photographer Julian Lineros and reporter Diana Pachon recently went searching for them.

Photographs of the hippo grazing in the lush grass more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the site of the old zoo and the story of the days-long search will be published in the upcoming edition of the monthly men’s magazine DONJUAN.

Escobar, a cocaine king gunned down by police on a Medellin rooftop in 1993, populated his zoo with hundreds of species during the height of his power in the 1980s. Most of the animals were turned over to authorities after his death.

Reporting by Hugh Bronstein

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