Drug Lord's Home Now a Theme Park
Raul Arboleda, AFP / Getty Images
Often known by his nicknames "Don Pablo" and "El Patron," Escobar controlled 80 percent of the world's cocaine trade until 1993, when he was reportedly gunned down by police officers on a rooftop in Medellín after a phone conversation with his son. In 1989, Escobar landed the number seven spot on Forbes' "wealthiest people in the world" list. At the time, Forbes estimated the ruthless drug lord's fortune to be around $25 billion dollars, according to the BBC.
Escobar originally imported four hippos from Africa for the estate, which roam and bathe in ponds on the property. The hippos have reproduced at a breakneck pace because they have no natural predators in Columbia, according to the Fox News report. Hacienda Napoles' hippo population has now ballooned to twenty-seven in total, Fox News reports.
See a video from National Geographic on Escobar's hippos:
According to a December 26, 2007 profile of the Hacienda Napoles in The Independent, the drug lord stocked the property with elephants, giraffes, buffalo, camels and lions, as well as a staff of 700 ranch hands to tend to the animals. The Independent reports that, except for the hippos, all of the animals in Escobar's collection were donated to zoosbut the park still has two zebras, an ocelot, a margay, an ostrich and several buffalo.
Hacienda Napoles also contains the rusted skeletal remains of blasted-out cars. After Escobar's home in Medellin was bombed in 1988 by a rival drug cartel, he salvaged the cars and moved them to the rural estate, according to The Independent. The Independent also points out that the property is speckled with life-sized statues of dinosaursincluding a triceratops, a brontosaurus, and a tyrannosaurus.
The gates to Hacienda Napoles are mounted with the Cessna plane Escobar first used to smuggle cocaine into the United States, according to an NPR report on July 22nd.
The Colombian government, which owns and operates the park, insists that turning Escobar's estate into a theme park does not glorify the career and life of a violent global narcotics trafficker.