June 29, 2014

Drug lord Pablo Escobar created a terrible invasive species problem in Colombia: Hippos.

"He smuggled in elephants, giraffes and other exotic animals, among them four hippos - three females and one male."
When Hacienda Napoles was confiscated in the early 1990s, Escobar's menagerie was dispersed to zoos around the country. But not the hippos. For about two decades, they have wallowed in their soupy lake...

Here, conditions for hippos are idyllic. The river is slow moving and has plenty of shallows, perfect for larger animals which don't actually swim but push themselves off banks, gliding through the water. Moreover, the region never experiences drought, which tends to act as a natural brake on the size of herds in Africa....

Colombian people, [one veterinarian] believes, are more vulnerable than Africans because they see hippos as cuddly, "floppy" animals...

"My father brought a little one home once," an unnamed girl told the paper. "I called him Luna (Moon) because he was very sweet - we fed him with just milk."...
Of course, hippos are deadly. They kill more human beings than any other wild mammal.

But there are 5 animals that kill more people. Try to name them in order, then look here. I thought the "wild" in the phrase "wild mammal" was a clue that dogs killed more people, but domestic dogs are 10th on the linked list.

ADDED: "11 Reasons Hippos Are The Most Awesome Animals Of All Time."

46 comments:

Amexpat said...

Hippos would be easy to eradicate where they are an invasive species. Much more difficult with insects or snakes.

Magson said...

My guess before seeing the list was that #1 would be mosquitoes. So close......

TML said...

I'm calling bullshit. Insects aren't animals.

Fritz said...

"Of course, hippos are deadly. They kill more human beings than any other wild mammal. "

Number 1 one the list was humans. It is at least arguable that human beings are wild; never having been domesticated by another species. Although house cats may have a good case.

SJ said...

Last year, I was able to visit South Africa.

While there, I was told of the Big 5 game animals of Africa.

Lion, Leopard, Black Rhino, Elephant, and Cape Buffalo.

I would have expected some of them to be in the Top 10.

All are in the top-25, and a couple are in the Top 10. However, even those are eclipsed by the Hippo and Crocodile in numbers-killed.

I also wish the list would be more accurate. The micro-organisms that cause malaria or African-Sleeping-Sickness are more dangerous than the mosquito and tsetse fly.

And I notice that there are no numbers for "human" in position number 1. Though the yearly value for that varies, I would at least expect some numbers given.

Instead, it's just a photo of a war-machine and a bland statement that humans can achieve much higher body-counts than any other animal.

St. George said...

Speaking of dangerous invasive species, here's a new eight-minute long David Cronenberg movie about a woman who has an invasive species problem.

Curious George said...

"2. Mosquitoes – The annoying buzz in the ear is the least of our concerns with mosquitos. They’re very deadly due to carrying diseases such as Malaria. As many as 1,000,000 people per year die from Malaria. So what could possibly kill more people than that?"

Change this to prog environmentalists. It's their bans that don't allow DDT, and allow brown people to die. Why do environmentalists hate brown people?

policraticus said...

Humans kill more than a million people a year? Every year? I'm skeptical.

Michael K said...

" As many as 1,000,000 people per year die from Malaria. So what could possibly kill more people than that?""

Rachel Carson tops that list. Her DDT ban kills a half million a year. Her theory that DDT causes bird eggs not to hatch has been disproven.

There used to be a wild animal park in Orange County called Lion Country Safari . It close years ago in part because, during a very rainy winter, the park flooded and a hippo named "Bubbles" escaped. The hippo submerged in a small lake in Laguna Canyon. After several weeks of trying to trap her, she was shot with a tranquilizer dart and died of suffocation. The negative publicity helped to close the park.

While it was open, I had several cases in which visitors were mauled by lions.

ironrailsironweights said...

Here is a hippo having a gigantic fart. Even worse than my last trip to Taco Bell.

Peter

Paco Wové said...

"Hippos would be easy to eradicate where they are an invasive species."

You'd think so, wouldn't you. But the original article goes into some detail on why nobody seems to want to shoot the cuddly widdle things.

EDH said...

"Say hello to my little friends!"

Sam L. said...

"3. Tsetse Flies – Now we’re getting into some serious mass murdering animals (insects). The Tsetse fly is what spread the African sleeping sickness, which affects as many as 500,000 people, 80 percent of whom eventually die."

I got $10 that says 100% eventually die (that 20% not killed by sleeping sickness--and I don't have sleeping sickness).

Big Mike said...

@TML, insects and arachnids certainly are part of the animal kingdom. If it's any consolation I overlooked them too.

I did get "people."

MathMom said...

Glenn Reynolds recommends that we eat invasive fish species.

Are hippo steaks any good?

MadisonMan said...

I am also suspicious of the claim that humans kill >1M people annually.

Surprised that moose aren't on the list.

Diamondhead said...

Funny that the listicle speculates that most deaths by tiger attack were provoked by humans. Liberal victim-blaming...they shouldn't have crossed paths with the tiger in the jungle.

Anyway, once I read that I knew humans would be #1

TWB said...

Wait! Wouldn't cows be the #1 killers? What, with all of the global warming causing methane gas they're emitting.

Birches said...

I can't understand how tree huggers would object to eradicating an invasive species. The article is correct, there would be a lot of bad press involved with shooting all the hippos, but come on! They shouldn't be there; who knows what precious native, algae or plant they hippos are driving to extinction ---- Oh, there's the way to get rid of the hippos. Find something else more "green" it's eliminating...

Carter Wood said...

One male, three females? That's not enough genetic diversity to establish a permanent population, is it?

Left Bank of the Charles said...

If these are campus cops, isn't her professor ID a get out of jail free card? Still, arresting someone for jaywalking? Papers please?

JM Hanes said...

Magson: "My guess before seeing the list was that #1 would be mosquitoes"

And you would be right. Stats are notoriously difficult to compile, but according to the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development reports (per Wikipedid), worldwide homicide rates run somewhat less than 500,000 a year.

If we're looking at the total number of man on man/mammal on mammal deaths from the dawn of time, I suspect that disease carrying, poison bearing bugs would still win the competition handily. New worldwide estimates for the Black Death, alone, start at a low of 75 million and range upward from there (also, per Wikipedia).

Amexpat said...

t is at least arguable that human beings are wild; never having been domesticated by another species.

Most humans are domesticated by the culture they live in. There are some asocial, feral humans who kill despite the norms of the society they live in. My guess is there have been more killings in organized wars in which the people doing the killing serve the society they live in.

Marc said...

Ironrailsironweights, The woman said, 'What was that?' in reaction to the hippo's episode, ha. More amusing than David C. in his eight minutes, St George, but I guess Cronenberg wasn't aiming at humor.

Wayworn Wanderer said...

#1 -- I should have thought of it.

Nichevo said...

If microorganisms count I imagine they should be comfortably in the lead.

eric said...

A couple of those I didn't care for.

Deer kill people by standing in the road, getting hit by a car, and the people in the car die?

Hell, I'm surprised tree's aren't on the list if that's the case.

And the Mosquito? The only reason the Mosquito is allowed to kill so many people every year is because environmentalists hate brown people.

clint said...

I got mosquitos. Would love to see how they got the number for humans.

But if we're blaming mosquitos for spreading the malaria virus... perhaps we need to blame humans for every disease communicated to humans by other humans. It's only fair.

David said...

Dutchies 2
Mexies 1

Trailing Dutchies score at 88 minutes and at 7(!!) minutes into injury time on a penalty kick.

That's a tough way to lose.

David said...

it is at least arguable that human beings are wild; never having been domesticated by another species.

Assuming, of course, that females have not decided to become a different species.

They get to choose, you know.

n.n said...

MadisonMan:

It's a matter of record. At least one good outcome of normalizing abortion is that we know that there are over one million abortions committed in America alone.

Yeah, I know. Human life does not have value until some selective time later. For many, but not all, it remains a "burden" until some time around birth.

I wonder how many other lifeforms control their population through mass abortion. It seems that many, and perhaps a majority, of humans have difficulty moderating their baser urges.

chuck said...

Hippos are also the closest living relatives of whales, answering a long standing question that began with Darwin.

Nonapod said...

I'm calling bullshit. Insects aren't animals.

Technically they are

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Clade: Pancrustacea
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Class: Insecta

sauce

ironrailsironweights said...

Funny that the listicle speculates that most deaths by tiger attack were provoked by humans. Liberal victim-blaming...they shouldn't have crossed paths with the tiger in the jungle.

I've read that most tiger attacks in India, which accounts for almost all human deaths from tigers, occur when people squat down outdoors to relieve themselves. Tigers do not attack standing humans because the humans' body orientation does not match any of a tiger's normal prey animals. Tigers perceive squatting humans as prey, as their body positions are more similar to other prey animals.

Peter

cold pizza said...

Peter, thank you for that imagery.

(with sincere apologies to W. Blake)

TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could claim me as I zip my fly?

-CP

Kirk Parker said...

The obvious solution: market hunting. Worked for the bison, didn't it?

James Pawlak said...

The meat is tasty, if tough from an adult.

Diamondhead said...

That may be (what - no pay toilets in the jungle?). But to say that the unfortunate people who meet their end by tiger attack probably have it coming is a profoundly ugly thing. I would also submit that it is a profoundly leftist way to look at it.

Steven said...

30+k Americans die in traffic fatalities/year. The WHO estimate is 1,240,000 traffic fatalities/year for the world. Since those essentially all are the result of human error, the number for humans looks pretty good to me.

chillblaine said...

Cecile Richards kills more humans than any other animal. A tiger or a tsetse fly will kill out of innate behavior. But you have to be taught how to aspirate or evacuate living tissue.

Curious George said...

"ironrailsironweights said...
I've read that most tiger attacks in India, which accounts for almost all human deaths from tigers, occur when people squat down outdoors to relieve themselves. Tigers do not attack standing humans because the humans' body orientation does not match any of a tiger's normal prey animals. Tigers perceive squatting humans as prey, as their body positions are more similar to other prey animals.

Peter"

So 2/3 of the deaths are women.

Saint Croix said...

Althouse has hijacked her men's right thread to talk about hippos over there. The hippo will not be stopped!

That should be Obama's new catchphrase. "The hippo is out, bitches!"

Carnifex said...

Their hippo overpopulation problem can be cured by shooting them, just as our RINO overpopulation problem.

tmitsss said...

In the early 20th Century Fredrick Russell Burnham proposed introducing Hippos to Louisana swamps to alleviate a meat shortage in the USA. Burnham was Baden-Powell inspiration for Scouting. There is a book about it American Hippopotamus.

LYNNDH said...

Thank Rachel (?) Carson and "Silent Spring" for No. 2 on the list.

James Pawlak said...

The killing of people and their adult "charm" reminds me of some pro-abortion, on TV, panels of females.