The sacred crocodiles of Bazoule .
Crocodiles that doesn’t bite?
Crocodiles are one of the deadliest creatures in the animal kingdom, feared and attacks dangerously. Still, in a small village in Burkina Faso, it is not usual Crocodile eating man we know of, but you will have to see someone sitting atop one of the fearsome reptiles. The Crocodile would be calm like a dog that is being patted on the head.
Bazoule is a town that is located around 30 kilometers from the capital of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou. They share their pond with more than 100 of the razor-toothed creatures.
According to Pierre Kabore, a villager. “We got used to the crocodiles when we were young, swimming in the water with them and all that,”
“Now we can always approach them and sit on them – and if you have the courage, you can lie on them too. There’s no problem; they are sacred crocodiles. They don’t do anything to anyone.”
According to him, the unsettling relationship with the predators started from at least the 15th century.
He explained that the village was in the grip of an agonizing drought until the crocodiles led women to a hidden pond where the population could quench their thirst.
According to him “The villagers organized a party to celebrate and thank the reptiles,”
In this town, there’s a celebration That is known as Koom Lakre. This celebration is still being held every year during which villagers make sacrifices and ask the animals to grant their wishes of health, prosperity and a good harvest; the crocodiles are deemed to have a mystical connection with Bazoule.
“Crocodiles are represented as the soul of our ancestors, and if one of them dies, they are buried and even given a funeral as if they were human,” said Kabore.
He went on to say that when a misfortune is about to hit the village, they cry out. On hearing their cries, the elders are charged with interpreting the cries and then make wishes to ward off bad luck.
The strange contact between man and Crocodile has drawn disbelieving tourists to the village to see for themselves.
When the tourists arrive, they can buy a chicken which is always hung on a stick by a guide, and they use it to entice the crocodiles out of the pond so that they can pose with the creatures.
A young Frenchman, Thomas Baspin, who came to visit his grandparents in Burkina Faso said
“It was nice to watch from a distance but sitting on one was a bit freaky,”
“I’m glad I did it—but I’m glad it’s over!” he quipped.
Hence, tourism has become a big money-spinner for the impoverished villagers, but then a three-year-old jihadist insurgency in Burkina Faso is taking its toll.
Ouagadougou had come under attack three times, most recently in March, when jihadists attacked the military headquarters and French embassy, which has made the place unsafe and has reduced the tourists trooping in.
“We could have more than 10,000 visitors per year, but at the moment, there’s no more than 4,000 or 5,000,” said Raphael Kabore, one of the guides.
Unfortunately, global warming is also believed to be having an impact on the—poor village. Rainfall levels are down each year, and the famous pond that is the crocodiles’ home is shrinking. When it disappears, will the reptiles once more guide their human friends to a new watery home?