Environment, Sport, Documentaries
MOKELE-MBEMBE: LOOKING FOR THE LAST DINOSAUR
Mokele-Mbembe : Looking For The Last Dinosaur is an adventure documentary project on the quest to find a legendary animal whose appearance would closely resemble that of the famous diplodocus, which may be hiding in the region of the Congo Basin... if found, it would have survived the glacial era and would now be hiding itself in this very primitive region, one of the most unexplored on the planet. Many expeditions have been carried out throughout the course of the twentieth century, all without success... Until now.
View of the Congo Basin area.
Sketche of the Mokele-Mbembe and a Pygmie man.
Video from a Japanese expedition, 1988.
THE ADVENTURE HAS BEGUN
In 2011, through mutual friends, the two heads of the Comptoir Général - museum of ghetto cultures and exploration, Paris, meet Jérôme Raynaud, a biologist and director of prize winning animal documentary films and the former assistant to Jacques Perrin (Microcosmos, Océans,... ). Thanks to him, They discover a new world of obscure and fascinating science: cryptozoologia.
Wrapped up in his project to finally discover this notorious beast known as 'Mokele-Mbembe', and impressed by his work and professionalism, they decide to reposition a portion of their activity towards this scientific adventure. The archiving research begins with the ample existant documentation on the subject dating as far back as a century (scientific revues, travel logs, press articles...), and as soon as the first technological partners are secured, the first load of materials is purchased and Jérôme embarks on the maiden reconnaissance mission in March 2012.
Press articles of the previous expeditions.
Page from “Connaissance de la Chasse”.
Cover of “Sciences et Avenir”, issue139, September 1958.
“A Living Dinosaur”, by Dr. Roy P. Mackal.
Article from “Boston Herald”, June 1999.
Double-page spread from “Sciences et Avenir”, issue 139, September 1958.
In February 2013, on the website www.mokele.fr is unveiled: a log book journal exhibiting the entirety of human knowledge and expertise on the matter: his encounters, witness accounts, clues collected, a study of the natural environment of the region, an explanation of the technical equipment used, and a detailed presentation of all the fundamental elements of this ancestral legend.
The website www.mokele.fr.
On the April 1st, The Comptoir Général unveil its new attraction of the same name, open to the public 7 days at 80, quai de Jemmapes in Paris' 10th arrondissement.
The attraction Mokele-Mbembe: Looking For The Last Dinosaur at The Comptoir Général.
Join the adventure on :
THE FILMED EXPEDITION – JULY 013
All along the expedition, our explorers in charge will keep us informed of his progress with a log book written in real time. The expedition will also allow the shooting of videos & photos to document the adventure.
1. Explore the water/river/fluvial systems of this region as well as the forest zones close to the river in order to catalogue the diverse animal species, both known and unkown, that are present in this region.
The explorers Jérôme Raynaud & Michel Ballot on Boumki river, in Cameroon - Congo frontier.
2. Carry out aerial observations of the region thanks to our drones in order to better understand and report the presence of bai (or salinas). the bai are salt marshes that attract a multitude of species, which are attracted by the water rich in salt minerals. These are privileged zones of observation and estimation of the species present.
The drones, also known as UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles).
3. To explore the mysterious dug-out tunnels and carry out inventories (of bones, eggs, claw fragments...) which will help identify the nature of the animal.
By the riverbank, a huge hole... No known animal could dig something of this size.
4. To continue the collection of first hand visual testimonies from the local populations, in order to construct a precise cartography of the areas frequented by the animal and progress onto establishing its ethnology.
Sketche of the Mokele-Mbembe by one of the Congo Basin area inhabitants.
Beyond an eventual first-class scientific discovery, this adventure also wishes to raise public awareness about the various threats facing a region which is so poorly understood, including its unequaled biodiversity, the immense natural resources, and the local population rich in ancestral culture. Deforestation, poaching, industrial exploitation...
Deforestation, poaching... many threats for this paradise land.
THE “LEGEND OF MOKELE-MBEMBE”
The Congo Basin region is spread out over several countries including Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Central African Republic. Along with the Amazon, this is the world's most primitive forest region as well as one of its least explored. Certain regions of Northern Congo remain, still to this day, totally undiscovered by man.
The Congo Basin area, North Congo.
Science estimates that there are in existence between 8 and 30 million living species on the planet. To this day, only 1.8 million have been identified. Millions if species, animal and vegetal, remain to be discovered. As far back as the start of the twentieth century, numerous accounts have been documented testifying to the existence of an elephant-sized animal in the Congo Basin that has a long neck and the head of a serpent, and which walks on all-fours with a massive tail trailing behind it.
A pygmie draws Mokele-Mbembe on the floor.
Many of these accounts have been reported by missionaries, explorers or hunters of occidental origin, however the animal is above all recognised and perfectly described by the forests’ ancestral populations, the Pygmies. They call this animal Mokele-Mbembe. Its appearance seems to be that of a smaller sized sauropod. Its environment would either be aquatic or semi-aquatic, and it would frequent the rivers and swamps of these primitive forests.
The Mokele-Mbembe seems to be that of a smaller sized sauropod.
Numerous fatal accidents are attributed to this animal which is capable of capsizing canoes and of attacking humans. It is seen and observed regularly with the sightings generally taking place the evening, late at night or the early hours before dawn.
'Mokele-Membe' has different meanings: 'one who stops the flow of rivers', 'rainbow' or monstrous creature'.
The Pygmies have an unequaled sense for and knowledge of the flora and fauna of their forest. They have observed and studied the behaviours of each animal, which they also hunt for the most part. For them, this animal is rare but is still considered part of the living fauna of their region. It is important to remember that it is thanks to the identical accounts given by them that occidental science has been able to discover animals like the Gorilla and the Okapi.
Thanks to Pygmies, science has been able to discover animals like the Okapi.
The great majority of newly discovered species become so thanks to the first-hand accounts of isolated populations that are generally very familiar with them well before science is able to catch up.
“Blessed Are Those Who Believe And Yet Have Not Seen.”
COLLECTION GOAL: 30 000 EUROS
The technology used for the exploration has improved enormously in recent years, and today allows a project of this kind to be envisaged in much better conditions than the scientific expeditions that have taken place throughout the course of the twentieth century. The sonars, the minimal-noise electric boats, witness cameras and aerial and aquatic robots have all seen immense technical advancements for ever-drecreasing prices.
The project is supported by several industrial groups (Tritech, Bushnell) who have placed various material at the project's disposal, and the Le Comptoir Général has also invested in the purchasing of equipment.
In order for this expedition to become a reality, we need to raise at least 30 000 euros. That said, the more considerable the budget, greater are the chances of discovering new animal species.
– ONE MONTH EXPEDITION BUDGET AT 30 000 EUROS:
– Transport for 5 persons for 15 days: 10 000 euros
– Insurance and transport of material: 5000 euros
– Camping Equipment (tents, sleeping material, gas, electricity, GPS tracking…) : 10 000 €
– Sound engineer and Director of Photography's salaries: 5000 euros
To receive an itemised budget of greater detail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Comptoir Général will unveil an itemised higher-end budget during the course of the fund raising if the 30 000 euro objective is surpassed before May 31st.
SUPPORT THE “MOKELE-MBEMBE, LOOKING FOR THE LAST DINOSAUR” SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITION AND RECEIVE SPECIAL GIFTS IN EXCHANGE.
– MICHEL BALLOT: Explorer / French Researcher, self-taught, fifteen years of tracking down Mokele Mbembe in Cameroon.
– LE COMPTOIR GÉNÉRAL: Museum of exploration and ghetto cultures in the heart of Paris. www.lecomptoirgeneral.com