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Humans and crocodiles lives peacefully in the village of Burkina Faso, located in Africa.

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Usually, we have seen humans living with dogs, cats, hamsters, and a few other animals. But an entire village where hundreds of enormous crocodiles coexist in perfect harmony, a testament to nature’s centuries of evolution. The remarkable human-crocodile friendship in Africa has captured the attention of the online community.

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An incredible bond has formed between humans and crocodiles in the landlocked nation of Burkina Faso in West Africa. Bazoule, a small village located 30 kilometers from the capital, Ouagadougou, is the residence of over 100 revered crocodiles. The villagers not only feed them, but children also rest on their backs, and they even swim together in the same pond. All of this is considered routine in this enchanting place. Let’s explore this “remarkably close relationship” further.

The origin of this remarkable relationship between humans and crocodiles is deeply rooted in local folklore. According to legend, the roots of this peaceful coexistence can be traced back to the 14th or 15th century, during the reign of Koud Naba, a local chieftain. At that time, the village was facing severe drought and a shortage of water. It was the women of the village who, following the movements of the crocodiles, eventually led the way to a hidden pond, thereby saving the lives of the villagers. This event is believed to be the founding moment of the village of Bazoule in its present location.

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Since that time, the residents of Bazoule and the crocodiles have established an extraordinary bond of trust and mutual respect. Remarkably, no casualties have been reported in the last 70 years, despite humans and crocodiles sharing the same space. The crocodiles have become an integral and celebrated part of the local culture, with the people holding them in high regard.

Koom Lakre is an exclusive annual festival held in Bazoule, Africa, dedicated solely to the cohabitation with reptiles. During this celebration, villagers make offerings and sacrifices to the crocodiles, while also beseeching the animals to fulfill their wishes for good health, prosperity, and bountiful harvests.

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In Bazoule, these crocodiles are revered as sacred beings with a mystical bond to the land and its inhabitants, rather than being perceived as ominous creatures. They also serve as a form of soothsayers. Some village elders decipher their ominous cries and perform rituals to avert misfortune, further highlighting the unique and harmonious relationship between the people of Bazoule and these remarkable reptiles.

According to a local resident, the crocodiles are considered embodiments of “the soul of our ancestors.” In the event of a crocodile’s death, they are given a proper funeral with rituals similar to those performed for a human being. This practice underscores the profound spiritual and cultural significance these reptiles hold in the village of Bazoule.

The Nile crocodile is indeed an iconic species and a top predator in the aquatic ecosystems of Africa. It is renowned for its immense size, precision in hunting, and its fearsome disposition. So, what prompts these esteemed crocodiles to deviate from their inherent nature? One possible explanation is that the crocodiles in Bazoule may belong to a distinct species altogether.

Recent genetic analysis has unveiled that the population found in central and Western Africa represents a distinct species from their Nile counterparts. While the Nile crocodile belongs to the genus Crocodylus niloticus, the West African crocodiles residing in Bazoule are classified as Crocodylus suchus, commonly known as the “Desert crocodile.” These crocodiles are smaller in size, exhibit less aggression, and are relatively more docile. They are known to inhabit numerous sacred pools scattered across Western Africa, where they are revered by the local people.

This distinction, which is newly discovered for many, was evidently common knowledge in Ancient Egyptian civilization. The Ancient Greek historian Herodotus even made observations about how this particular species, with its unique characteristics, was raised in Egyptian temples due to its more manageable temperament.

The incredible bond between the people of Bazoule and their revered crocodiles has not only left an indelible mark on the village’s cultural identity but has also drawn tourists from across the globe. Visitors have the opportunity to witness this extraordinary relationship firsthand by feeding the crocodiles or resting on their rugged backs. This influx of tourists has become an economic lifeline for an otherwise economically disadvantaged region. Furthermore, it has played a significant role in raising awareness about the importance of conserving these exceptional animals and their habitat.

Regrettably, this unique ecosystem is facing the peril of extinction. The effects of global warming are leading to the drying up of water bodies, significantly reducing the habitats for these creatures. Additionally, the relentless attacks by extremist insurgency factions are exacting a deadly toll on the fragile coexistence between the people and the animals of this region. These combined challenges threaten not only the survival of the crocodiles but also the cultural heritage and livelihoods of the people of Bazoule.

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