Docs

Smithsonian Channel embarks upon “The Hunt for Escobar’s Hippos”

Smithsonian Channel, a ViacomCBS network, is set to air a documentary concerning the escape of notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar’s illicit Colombian hippos with The Hunt for Escobar’s Hippos. In the 1980s, the narcotraficante expanded his collection ...
August 14, 2020

Smithsonian Channel, a ViacomCBS network, is set to air a documentary concerning the escape of notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar’s illicit Colombian hippos with The Hunt for Escobar’s Hippos.

In the 1980s, the narcotraficante expanded his collection of exotic animals by illegally importing four hippos into Colombia. The hippos, however, were left to fend for themselves in the wake of Escobar’s death in 1993 and broke free from his US$63 million Medellín estate.

Today, more than 60 of the semiaquatic mammals roam the Colombian countryside, creating problems in local villages and threatening the ecosystem feeding into Colombia’s main watershed, the Magdalena River.

Now, Smithsonian’s The Hunt for Escobar’s Hippos will probe what exactly happened to Escobar’s collection of hippos following the kingpin’s death in 1993. The series will follow Colombian veterinarian Dr. Gina Serna who is tasked with capturing and sterilizing each hippo to quell the threat to human life and to the country’s wildlife and native ecosystem.

The investigative docuseries is produced by AGB Films in association with Oak Island Films for Smithsonian Channel and Terra Mater Factual Studios.

Executive producers include Phil Fairclough and Ted Oakes, Sabine Holzer and Susanne Lummer for Terra Mater Factual Studios, and Tria Thalman and David Royle for Smithsonian Channel.

The Hunt for Escobar’s Hippos premieres Aug. 26 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel in the U.S. and at 9 p.m. ET/PT in Canada.

“This was a story we immediately knew we had to tell,” said Smithsonian Channel’s Thalman. “Americans know Escobar’s legacy all too well but this invasion of hippos that now threatens Colombia’s wildlife is a remarkable, unexpected twist to the sordid tale of drugs and violence.”

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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