”When the drug lord Pablo Escobar was shot dead in 1993, he left behind a zoo stocked with wild animals alongside his multibillion dollar cocaine empire. The lions, giraffes and other exotic species were moved from the luxurious Hacienda Nápoles estate east of Medellín to new homes, but nearly three decades later, dozens of hippos, descendants of animals left behind, are thriving in small lakes in northern Colombia, making them the world’s largest invasive animal.”
Erick Lundgren, lead author and PhD student at the University of Technology Sydney, told the Guardian: “The word ‘invasive’ doesn’t really leave any room for organisms that do something that’s beneficial for another species. ‘Invaders’ don’t really help anything. And with that kind of anthropomorphic branding, you end up with a very limited range of research questions that are usually asked.
”The analysis found that by introducing large herbivore species across the world, humans had restored lost ecological traits to many ecosystems, thereby counteracting a legacy of extinctions and making the world more like the pre-extinction late Pleistocene.”