When drug kingpin Pablo Escobar died in 1993 having built a billion dollar cocaine empire, he left behind a zoo. While his rhinos, giraffes, elephants and kangaroos were re-housed, the hippos were left in Escobar’s abandoned ranch in the Colombian countryside.
In 2007 they started turning up 100 kilometres away, frightening fishermen. Vet Carlos Valderrama was called in to tackle the problem. He describes to Josephine McDermott his experience of the first ever castration of a hippo in the wild.
In 1937, Japanese forces entered Shanghai – spelling the end of a period when the Chinese city had been a thriving commercial centre governed by international powers and known as the “Paris of the East”. Under the Japanese occupation, local people in Shanghai endured starvation and brutal treatment; while foreigners scrambled to escape as their lifestyle of servants and glamourous parties slowly disappeared. Josephine McDermott speaks to Liliane Willens, who lived through the Japanese invasion and occupation.
In the 1980s, the minority Uyghur community in China staged some of the first protests against the all-powerful Communist Party. The Uyghurs were demanding that the Chinese government keep its promises to protect their culture and grant them political autonomy in Xinjiang region. In 1989, many Uyghur students enthusiastically supported the pro-democracy demonstrations centred on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. One of them was Aziz Isa Elkun, who talks to Josephine McDermott.
She has been in a relationship for six months but, facing the loss of her frozen eggs in July, is now having to choose whether or not to ask her partner to fertilise them, or to fertilise them using a sperm donor.