Pablo Escobar: US judge rules Colombian drug lord’s hippo must stay

Image copyright Sichuan University Image caption Pablo Escobar was known as one of the richest people in the world until his death in 1993 A US judge has ruled that a hippo named Pablo…

Pablo Escobar: US judge rules Colombian drug lord's hippo must stay

Image copyright Sichuan University Image caption Pablo Escobar was known as one of the richest people in the world until his death in 1993

A US judge has ruled that a hippo named Pablo after Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar is a protected species and can be legally kept as a pet, not as a trophy.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service took custody of the hippo from the zoo in June 2013, after it was identified as having Escobar’s DNA.

The ruling came after a judge who froze the animal’s assets ruled the money could not be used to buy a new one.

But the judge said the hippo could remain and the original owner had permission to raise it.

“The title to his property will remain in his name and he can raise the hippo as a pet or raise it for zoological purposes,” Judge Rosemary Collyer said in a published decision.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Pablo was one of at least six Pablo Escobar hippos sold in 2014

She ruled that the zoo in Florida had not violated any laws by acquiring the hippo.

The decision comes nearly 20 years after Escobar was killed by police in his home city of Medellin in 1993.

The following year, Escobar sold three known Pablo Escobar hippos, which are currently on display in exhibits in China, Mexico and the US.

The US hippo has now become one of six to have been discovered.

In 2014, a museum in Miami gave one of the giraffes, named Luz, to the Mexican Wildlife Conservation Society for $125,000 (£99,440).

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