Pablo Escobar’s cocaine hippos legally ‘people’: US judge

Pablo Escobar's cocaine hippos legally 'people': US judge

The offspring of hippos once owned by Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar can be recognized as people or “interested persons” with legal rights in the U.S. following a federal court order. The case involves a lawsuit against the Colombian government over whether to kill or sterilize the hippos whose numbers are growing at a fast pace and pose a threat to biodiversity. An animal rights groups is hailing the order as a milestone victory in the long sought efforts to sway the U.S. justice system to grant animals personhood status. But the order won’t carry any weight in Colombia where the hippos live, a legal expert said. Hippos float in the lake at Hacienda Napoles Park, once the private estate of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar who imported three female hippos and one male decades ago in Puerto Triunfo, Colombia on Feb. 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara, File) “The ruling has no impact in Colombia because they only have an impact within their own territories. It will be the Colombian authorities who decide what to do with the hippos and not the American ones,” said Camilo Burbano Cifuentes, a criminal law professor at the Universidad Externado de Colombia. The “cocaine hippos” are descendants of animals that Escobar illegally imported to his Colombian ranch in the 1980s when he reigned over the country’s drug trade. After his death in a 1993 shootout with authorities, the hippos were abandoned at the estate and left to thrive with no natural predators — their […]

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