It’s simple to see why this incredible tale went viral; it’s a terrific example of humanity’s relationship with nature.
On the banks of the Reventazón-Parismina River in Siquirres, Costa Rica, the friendship began in 1989.
Gilberto “Chito” Shedden, a local fisherman, rescued a dying crocodile. Chito rehabilitated the croc and released him back into the wild.
He had no idea that the next morning he would discover the crocodile on his porch, kicking off a spectacular 22-year friendship.
“I realized the crocodile could be educated when it followed me home and came to me whenever I called its name,” Chito explained.
The crocodile, later named Pocho, was shot in the left eye by a cattle farmer who was terrified he might prey on his herd.
“I simply wanted him to know that someone cared about him, that not everyone is nasty,” Chito told The Tico Times.
Chito made sure Pocho was fed appropriately while he was healing. Chito even kissed him, talked to him, and slept next to him.
“The food was insufficient. To restore his desire to live, the crocodile needs my affection.” Chito clarified.
Pocho, despite his cold-blooded biology, returned the devotion by racing at Chito with his mouth open as he entered the water, only to spit it out before he got too near, allowing him to be kissed on the nose!
Chito was afraid that the police would seize his reptile companion, so he concealed Pocho in a neighboring forest’s secret pond.
Someone eventually saw Chito swimming with the crocodile and reported it.
The couple were subsequently videotaped by Costa Rica’s Channel 7 in 2000, catapulting them to prominence in Chile, the United States, and even the United Kingdom.
The Ministry of the Environment and Telecommunications allowed the celebrity couple to live together as long as Pocho could be monitored. Pocho was then fed 30KG of chicken and fish on a weekly basis by a veterinarian and a biologist.
The two would do a weekly routine in his hometown of Siquirres every Sunday for the following 10 years, where they would show off their relationship in the water for tourists.
South African Roger Horrocks created a documentary called “The Man Who Swims With Crocodiles” to document their special relationship.
Pocho’s head trauma from the bullet may have injured his brain, changing the reptile’s natural behavior and allowing him to sense human emotions after being rescued by Chito that fateful day, according to the director.
Sadly, every narrative must come to an end, and Pocho died of natural causes on October 12, 2011. He was thought to be around 60 years old. Chito sung to the deceased crocodile while holding his ‘hand’ at a public ‘human style’ burial, and his taxidermied remains are currently on exhibit at the Siquirres municipal museum.
Chito is presently teaching a new crocodile named Pocho II, which he regularly meets at the same river near his house, but how their relationship will develop in the long term is questionable, as his contact with the original Pocho was extremely meaningful to him.
Source: The Tico Times