In the African country Burkina Faso, humans and crocodiles live in harmony. Outsiders are left amazed by how close citizens can get to the apex predators.
Burkina Faso is a country in West Africa, known for its dry savannahs and green forests. Its versatile climate is not the only thing Burkino Faso is known for. The country is famous for its friendly crocodiles and as being somewhere where people and crocodiles seemingly live in harmony.
In the rural village of Bazoule, located 30 miles outside the capital of Ouagadougou, man and crocodile have co-existed for decades. Crocodiles are typically an animal that would inspire fear, being responsible for around 300 deaths a year in Africa and 1000 globally.
The pre-historic creatures are found in almost every major river throughout Africa and while attacks are relatively rare, most people know to take precautions. Crocodile attacks usually happen when a person is too close to their habitat and is not staying alert, allowing the animal to ambush them.
However, in Bazoule, this pattern does not ensue. It appears that crocodiles simply have no desire to attack humans, something that YouTuber Drew Binsky decided to investigate for himself. The YouTuber took a trip to Burkina Faso, seeing the crocs up close and witnessing first-hand how docile the creatures are.
How Did The Villagers Achieve This?
The main question onlookers have is how the people of Bazoule have formed such a friendship with the local crocodiles. How are they certain that the animals will not suddenly decide to attack them?
The answer is in years of conditioning the crocodiles to trust them. The local people feed the crocodiles some of their favorite food sources, such as chicken and fish, leaving them full and satisfied. Crocodiles can go up to a year without eating, so being regularly fed by the local people reduces their need to hunt.
A local man, Peter, explains in Drew Binsky’s Vlog how the community co-exists with crocodiles without fear: “Our crocodiles are sacred, they don’t eat human. He is the ancestor; he protects the village. We have 200 crocodiles, but the children come swimming no problem.”
A Tale as Old as Time
Residents have a high level of trust in the crocodiles on a spiritual level, believing that the crocodiles value and protect the community. Stories of the co-existing relationship date back to the 15th century when the crocodiles are believed to have helped lead the community out of a major drought.
People even celebrate the crocodiles through a local festival, Koom Lakre, where villagers make sacrifices and honor their sacred animals. During the ceremony, they pray for continued health and prosperity.
Therefore, the animals are considered valued members of the community and not a threat. In turn, the crocodiles live peacefully and enjoy the mutually beneficial relationship where people walk freely through the village, and the crocs enjoy consistent food – not of the human kind.
For more crocodile content, read about how this ancient crocs’ last meal was found to be nothing less than dinosaur meat.