The official word: Considered by many to be the most ruthless criminal of the 20th century, Pablo Escobar lived a lavish lifestyle filled with luxurious possessions, limitless spending and no fear of government intervention. Among the Colombian drug lord’s most prized possessions was his immense compound called Hacienda Napoles, home to his personal zoo of more than 700 animals including his childhood obsession – hippos.
On July 19 at 10 PM (ET/PT), Animal Planet’s one-hour special DRUG KINGPIN HIPPOS explores Escobar’s decades-long stranglehold on Colombia and the lasting threat his hippos continue to pose to the country today. Unearthing archival footage and featuring exclusive interviews, including with Roberto Escobar, Pablo’s eldest brother and closest friend, DRUG KINGPIN HIPPOS will provide viewers with a history of Escobar’s rise to prominence and his ultimate demise as the world’s preeminent narco-terrorist. The special also chronicles the plight of a team of Colombian veterinarians as they race against the clock to locate a runaway adult male hippo, a living symbol of Escobar’s lasting terror on the country.
What started for Escobar as a realization of a childhood dream with the purchase of four hippos has turned into an ongoing nightmare for Colombians, as there are now more than 30 hippos in the country. With the ability to outrun humans in short distances and with a naturally aggressive demeanor that can easily maim and kill, the hippo population continues to threaten the lives of Colombians long after Escobar’s death. With the escaped hippo loose in the wild, the team of vets begins a quest to locate him before he attacks a human. The veterinarians must make split second decisions and call on all their resources before attempting to capture, castrate and relocate the large beast. Only if they are successful will the veterinarians be able to decide the hippo’s fate, life in captivity, deportation or sacrifice.
DRUG KINGPIN HIPPOS is produced for Animal Planet by Explora Films. Mauricio Velez is the executive producer for Explora Films. Erin Wanner is the executive producer for Animal Planet. Marc Etkind is the vice president of development for Animal Planet.