Beast Hunter – Swamp Monster of the Congo – S01E03

Pat is on the hunt for the Swamp Monster of the Congo. Perhaps it could be described as another version of Nessie, but this time it’s in the dense jungle. Could there be a creature hiding in the jungle that’s responsible for several deaths and striking fear into the villagers? Pat talks with several eyewitnesses to find out. Its name is Mokele-mbembe.

He talks to a man who says he saw the footprint and even caught a glimpse of the animal. Another takes him to the location where he saw Mokele-mbembe. As he gives details Pat thinks the animal could have been a very large crocodile. The villager seems almost offended by the insinuation. He knows the difference between a crocodile and Mokele-mbembe. While scouting this location he sets up trap cameras to see if he gets pictures of anything crossing the river where the sighting took place.

Another witness tells the story of his grandfather being killed by the creature while he was out fishing. The boat was broken in half and his grandfather died. The details are sketchy and the story seems a little hard to believe. All the stories up to this point lack detail and have no real evidence to support them. It’s really coming across as the stuff of legend and stories that have been handed down.

But the men of the village are going to prove they know the jungle and the creatures in it so they set up a hunting party and take Pat out to show him the animals. They want him to know this isn’t a case of mistaken identity.

They leave little doubt about their animal prowess so Pat takes out his iPad and goes through a picture lineup. They are very familiar with the animals he shows, but it’s the dinosaur that gets the most reaction. The villagers say that’s Mokele-mbembe and it’s what they’ve been seeing.

Just to give it a try, Pat heads out into the jungle with a thermal imager to see what he can find. There are lots of animals noises but nothing that would suggest Mokele-mbembe. At the end of the night he goes to check his trap cameras and find that elephants use this path to cross the river. Then the idea dawns on him, if villagers were to see an elephant crossing the river with just its back and trunk showing, would that be Mokele-mbembe? It would have many characteristics that people describe. And in the dark, making all that noise, perhaps covered in mud and hidden by trees would it look more dinosaur like?

In the end it could simply be a case of mistaken identity. Villagers are seeing elephants either in the river or walking through the jungle and become frightened. If they aren’t expecting it, it could be mistaken for a dinosaur. And the footprints could be distorted enough to appear different than an elephant.

But the jungle has hidden many packs of animals. Gorillas hid from many quite happily for decades until very recently so it is possible something much bigger is still waiting in the jungle to be discovered.

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