Paga Crocodile Pond
|Paga Crocodile Pond|
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
Visitors touching a crocodile
Paga Crocodile Pond is a sacred pond in Paga in the Upper East Region of Ghana, which is inhabited by West African crocodiles. Due to the friendliness of the reptiles, it has become popular among tourists and the pond is now reliant on tourism to ensure the population of crocodiles remain fed and healthy.
The pond is located in Paga in the Upper East Region of Ghana, and is 44 kilometres (27 mi) outside Bolgatanga, the regional capital. It is inhabited by wild West African crocodiles, with some up to 90 years old. The crocodiles are so tame that local children can swim in the pond alongside them without being harmed.
The locally told origin of the pond was that a crocodile brought a dying man to the pond to drink, who after surviving, declared the pond to be sacred and that no harm should come to the crocodiles. Another story states that a man was trapped against the water's edge by a lion, when he bargained with a crocodile that none of his children would harm his kind if he would kill the lion. It is believed that the souls of the people of Paga resides in these crocodiles. It is an offence to kill crocodiles in Paga, or eat crocodile meat.
The crocodiles at Paga are very friendly. Visitors can sit, touch and take photographs with the crocodiles. The crocodiles roam freely throughout the pond, and are brought to the shore when the guides whistle loudly. Tourists can then take photographs while holding the crocodile's tails, after the guide has fed them a chicken. There are concerns that the pond is now too reliant on tourism, with caretaker Salifu Awewozem saying in 2009 that the elderly crocodiles require specialist care, and the only time additional food is provided to the reptiles is when tourists pay for the chickens when they pose for photographs.
- Anane, Benedicta (6 August 2011). "The Paga crocodile pond". My Joy Online. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
- "In Ghana's Paga Ponds, kids swim alongside "friendly" crocodiles". Pulse.com.gh. 30 December 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
- "Paga Crocodile Pond In Danger". GhanaWeb. 9 September 2009. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
- Robb, Simon (19 May 2016). "Is this the most dangerous holiday snap ever?". The Metro. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
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