Deep in the Costa Rican jungle, a fisherman named Chito discovered a crocodile that had been shot in the eye by a cattle farmer and left for dead. Chito was able to drag the massive reptile into his boat and brought him to his home, where he stayed by his side for months, nursing him back to health.
He named the croc Pocho. “I stayed by Pocho’s side while he was ill, sleeping next to him at night. I just wanted him to feel that somebody loved him, that not all humans are bad,” said Chito.
“It meant a lot of sacrifice. I had to be there every day. I love all animals – especially ones that have suffered.”
The day finally came when Pocho was strong enough to go back into the wild. Chito took him to a lake near his house and released him, but the animal simply got back out of the water and followed him home.
“Then I found out that when I called his name he would come over to me.” says Chito. The fisherman has been hesitant to tell his story, even though 20 years have passed since he first rescued Pocho.
Pocho is roughly 5.18 meters (17 feet) long. He and Chito play, wrestle and hug on a daily basis. That bond, Chito said, took years to forge.
“After a decade I started to work with him.”, says Chito casually, “At first it was slow, slow. I played with him a bit, slowly doing more.”
Chito has told his story now only to raise awareness of the cruelty that can be done to animals, and the difference that affection and treating other rightly can make.
“He’s my friend, I don’t want to treat him like a slave or exploit him.” said Chito, “I am happy because I rescued him and he is happy with me because he has everything he needs.”