Inside Pablo Escobar’s famous hacienda, 1980s

Located halfway between Medellin and the city of Bogota, Colombia's capital, Hacienda Napoles was a sprawling ranch owned by drug baron Pablo Escobar.

In the early 1980s, after Escobar became wealthy but before he began the campaign of assassinations and bombings that nearly tore Colombia apart, he built himself a zoo. At the peak of his power, Escobar was estimated to be worth over $30 billion.

He smuggled in elephants, giraffes and other exotic animals, among them four hippopotamuses – three females and one male. And usually with grand gestures, they allowed the public to move freely around the zoo.

The entrance was decorated with a Piper airplane, used by Escobar to fly his first shipment of cocaine to the United States, and the grounds were populated with sculptures of dinosaurs and other creatures.

When the Hacienda Napoles were confiscated in the early 1990s, Escobar's menagerie was spread to zoos across the country. But not a hippo. For nearly two decades, they have walled in their craggy lake, watching their surrounding 20 sq km (8 sq mi) park look neglected and overgrown – and then a zoo with water slides and themes. turned into the park.

At all times, the hippopotamuses themselves flourished and multiplied. No one knows how many there are. The local environmental authority, which bears responsibility for them, estimates between 50 and 60.

In 2014, a "Jurassic Park"-style African theme park was operating on the grounds, which have been rented out by a private company. The "Parque Temático Hacienda Nápoles" comes with a water park, a guided safari attraction, aquariums, and a replica of the caves in Colombia's Cueva de los Guácharos National Park.

The Escobar Museum, his burned-down private car collection, and the abandoned "ruins" of his home are still publicly accessible, but are reported to have collapsed in February 2015.

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