“Love conquers all” this probably best describes the unusual friendship of a Costa Rican fisherman and naturalist named ‘Gilberto Shedden’ and his best pal ‘Pocho’ – a crocodile longer than 5 meters and weighing up to half a ton.
Also known as ‘Chito’ the ‘Crocodile Man’, he first met with the crocodile after finding him with a gunshot wound on the banks of the Central American state’s Parismina river in 1991.
Pocho was skinny, weighing only 150 pounds when he was shot in the left eye by a cattle farmer and left to die.
The wounded crocodile was brought to Siquirres by Chito with help of his friend, where Pocho was nursed back to health for six months. Shedden fed the crocodile chicken, fish, and medicine and even slept with the crocodile during its recovery.
He goes beyond just taking care of the crocodile, he even simulated the chewing of food with his mouth to encourage the croc to eat.
Chito gave Pocho kisses and hugs while talking to and petting it.
“Food wasn’t enough. The crocodile needed my love to regain the will to live,” noted Shedden.
Furthermore, he hid Pocho in a concealed pond under trees in a nearby forest until the Costa Rican authorities gave him wildlife permits to legally own and raise the seriously injured crocodile. Soon, the injured crocodile was back to its healthy state and Chito releases him in a nearby river.
However, he was stunned to see the crocodile back and sleeping outside his home the next morning.
It seems Chito’s tender loving care has made the crocodile stay by his savior’s side. Eventually, Pocho became a member of the Sheeden’s family, along with Chito’s second wife and daughter after his first wife left him because of spending too much time with the crocodile.
He said, “Once the crocodile followed me home, and came to me whenever I called its name, I knew it could be trained. Another wife I could get. (A crocodile behaving like) Pocho was one in a million.”
The Environment, Energy and Telecommunications Ministry allowed Chito to keep the crocodile as long as they could monitor it. He even worked with a veterinarian and a biologist and fed Pocho 30 kilograms of fish and chicken a week.
In July 2000, Chito and Pocho’s unbelievable friendship become famous after Costa Rica’s Channel 7 filmed the unusual pair which draws attention from all over the world.
And for more than 10 years, Chito and Pocho had performed a weekly act on Sunday afternoons in a 100 square meter artificial lake at Finca Las Tilapias in his hometown of Siquirres, Costa Rica, for tourists from around the world – demonstrating the unique and seemingly impossible friendship between man and crocodile.
Sadly, on October 12, 2011, Pocho died.
He died of natural causes in the water outside Shedden’s home. Pocho was given a human style funeral and was attended by human friends and admirers. During the funeral, Chito sang and held his hand as he bid farewell to his beloved friend.
Pocho’s remain was stuffed and permanently displayed behind glass in the Sequirres town museum as he was considered as a national treasure of Costa Rican culture.
Meanwhile, before Pocho passes away, a South African filmmaker Roger Horrocks has completed a documentary about their unbelievable, unique and seemingly impossible friendship between man and crocodile entitled:
“The Man Who Swims With Crocodiles”.
Chito is currently and trying to connect with a new crocodile named Pocho II but since his unique special relationship with the original Pocho is truly one of a kind, the success with the new prospect is totally uncertain. – Via: Ourplnt