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Crocodiles are not wild animals-tour guard


For those who consider crocodiles as one of the dangerous creatures in water, the people of Paga, a crocodile community in the Kassena-Nankana West District of the Upper East Region say crocodiles are not wild animals.

Ayepagayo was the name of the current Paga, meaning in Kassena language; I like this place. The over 300 crocodiles in the paga community live with the people, lay their eggs on rubbish damping areas and roam like lizards.

The dam which houses the crocodiles is situated in the community with houses around it. The district has 10 crocodile ponds dotted across the area with Paga one housing the largest crocodiles.

Out of over 300 crocodiles in Paga pond, a 92-year-old crocodile heads the pond with support of a 72-year-old crocodile.

The pond is one of the major revenue sources for the Ghana Tourism Authority and the Kassena-Nankana West district assembly. Both Ghanaians and expatriates who troop to the place pay before having access to the crocodiles.

Apart from the mandatory buying of fowls for the elderly crocodile which cost ten (10 GHC), Ghanaians pay five Cedis while foreigners pay 10 cedis. The tour guard at Paga pond Salifu Awewozem told Zaa News that, anyone wanting to see or touch the crocodile will have to buy a fowl for the 92-year-old crocodile. As i stood and watch Mr Salifu who uses stick to heat at a metal bar infront of the dam for the crocodiles to come out, i became convince that the crocodiles  at least  for those in Paga are realy not dangerous as many pereceve them to be. i became more convince when a colleague of min was ask by the tour guide to grabbed the 92-year-old one head while he (the tour guard) throw the live white fowl to it.

How the paga crocodile pond manifested

The behavior of the crocodiles according to the tour guard has spiritual antecedence and traditional connotations to residents in the area. A hunter who fled a village called Kabala in Burkina Faso over protracted chieftaincy conflict had his life saved by a crocodile.

The hunter who was fed-up went for hunting and was thirsty but had no idea where he could get water to survive. While he was lying under a tree he saw a crocodile passing and knowing that crocodiles don’t live on land, he followed it until they got to a river.

On his return home, the hunter met a flooded river and luckily on him the same crocodile was passing again and he quickly grabbed the tail of crocodile across the river.

The hunter narrated the story to the family members who sought soothsayer who advised that never to take crocodile meat. After resettling in Ayepagayo  in the Upper East Region for about two years, he embarked on hunting and met a small water body with a crocodile in it.

The hunter cast his mind back to the previous events in the bush and quickly went to the soothsayer who confirmed to him that that crocodile that saved his life has resurfaced and he must protect it.

The hunter who was the first settler in the Paga warned other settlers never to kill and also abhor eating crocodiles. The hunter’s directive became a tradition. It is forbidden and a taboo for all indigenes in Paga to eat crocodile. The crocodiles have come times that they are more or less living with their families. The crocodiles are, however, friendly but predators to live stocks such as sheep, goat and fowls.


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