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General News of Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Source: THE SUN

Paga Crocodile Pond In Danger

Paga is a very small town with its own market North of Navrongo right on the Ghana/Burkina Faso border. It is noted for its sacred pond, which is a sanctuary for crocodiles.

The crocodiles are said to be totems for the people of Kassena who reside in Paga and the surrounding communities. It is believed that each native of Paga has a corresponding crocodile representing each person's soul.

To this day there are plenty of crocodiles in the Paga pond and crocodile meat is forbidden. At the Paga pond you can see people collecting water or doing their wash very close to crocodiles. Local tradition THE SUN was told by a caretaker has it that, there have been actual instances when deaths of important personalities in the community coincided with that of some crocodiles.

The reptiles are normally enticed out of the pond by the whistling of the caretaker and the brandishing of a fowl, which the crocodiles quickly snatch with their snouts. If you are courageous, you can sit on, or hold the beast's tail for a good camera pose.

The caretaker charges a fee for the fowl and basic interpretation. On the more commercial side of things the crocodiles have brought a sort of road-side tourist attraction to Paga. The caretakers of the Paga crocodile pond have said that if the place is not distilled it may ruin the existence of the tourist attraction.

Speaking to THE SUN in an interview one of the guards MR. Salifu Awewozem said that the existence of the pond is because of the torrential rains experienced for the past three years. One of the crocodiles which he said is ninety years old and many other of it type needs special feeding to keep them alive. Mr. Awewozem said the only source of feeding the crocodiles is when visitors buy fowls to attract them which he noted is not enough. He therefore appealed to government, friends of animals and other organizations to assist keep and sustain the existence of the crocodile pond.