In Search of Mokele-mbembes
Is there a live dinosaur in the Congo?
Growing up, I have always loved the subject of Dinosaurs. Maybe it is because my Dad was nick-named “Dr. Dino,” or the fact that he taught and talked about them incessantly. Regardless of how I became so interested, any time an opportunity to look for new dinosaurs comes up, it piques my curiosity.
Well last fall, we let you know of an opportunity to support William Gibbons’ trip to the Congo in search of the elusive Mokele-mbembes. For those of you who participated in this endeavor to find living dinosaurs, we thank you. Mr. Gibbons sent us the following report of his group’s expedition in the Congo of Africa and I’d like to share it with you.
This particular trip was extremely hard, due to the late rains and washed-out roads. We made it to the World Wildlife Fund Camp in N’Dongou and travelled 100 kilometers up the Dja River to the Nki falls. This is about as remote as you will ever get, with no villages or even people for miles. There are stretches of that river farther north which fishermen avoid due to too many encounters with Mokele-mbembes.
We picked up several new reports about Mokele-mbembes from locals that I have never interviewed before. My youngest son, Andrew (18), and the two French explorers, Michel Ballot and Serge Grispoux, went on to the Nki Falls, while John Kirk and I remained at Camp Catfish (yes, it’s actually called that), about 2 kms south of the falls.
As we were discussing our surroundings, we suddenly heard deep, throaty bellows that appeared to be coming from the river south of us, but were actually on the west side of the bank where we were located. The thick foliage made it impossible to see what was making those amazing vocalizations, but the bellows got louder, as if the animal was making its way towards us. After the third roar, we heard the sound of the motorized canoe approaching from the south and the bellowing suddenly stopped.
We did our best to mimic the bellowing noise for our boatmen Blaise and Noel, who immediately identified them as a Mokele-mbembe territorial call. They were very much on edge after that! We were able to confirm from our own experiences, as well as that of others, that Mokele-mbembes will dive underwater at any foreign sound, such as an outboard engine. We learned of new sightings of the animal, as well as new reports of the horned elephant killer, the Emela Ntouka, a giant chimpanzee called the Sampala, and a giant upright walking ape (the Dodu) that have had physical contact with the World Wildlife Forest guards! The water panther, a huge leopard-like cat with a mane like a lion, has also been observed, which uses waterfalls and rapids to ambush animals that come to the river’s edge to drink.
Michel Ballot became very ill on the trip and we were forced to cut the expedition short by two days to get him to the Catholic hospital in a nowhere-village called Salapoumbe. He remained very ill until we could get him back to Yaounde and on a plane back to France. The last leg of our journey was a marathon 15-hour drive to Yaounde. This was a tough trip, and at 54, I’m not sure if I can keep this up for much longer. Perhaps in a year I will be keen to go again? I’ll keep you posted on all our future plans!
Thank you again for your generous and kind support!
So, is there a living Dinosaur in the swamps of Africa? The natives seem to believe so. However even if (when) one is documented, it won’t change the opinions of evolutionary-thinking people. Remember, they have already thrown God and Creation as a possibility out the window, so everything they see is through the eyes of an evolutionary worldview. You might wonder if I am up for one of those expeditions one day. Um … I think I will leave that to people even more adventurous than I am. I am more of the “Do a wheelie on the motorcycle” kind of adventurer!
Now, If you think this is cool, you need to check out the movie with Dinosaurs that is being produced right now! www.GenesisMovie.com
Thanks for reading,