National Geographic : 1967 Jul
Creatures of the cascade, goliaths garrison a mossy perch in the Mbia River. When an insect flies into range, a frog snares the prey with a flick of its sticky tongue. The author believes that spray drenching the amphibians provides oxygen that they absorb through the skin, supplementing the supply from the lungs. In the midst of a raging torrent, how could I collect a creature wary of the slightest move ment-even at thirty yards? Frogs frequently are caught at night in the spot of a blinding flashlight. But who could find his way through this jungle in the dark and out into the middle of a waterfall? A better hope was Ond6, one of the Fang people who work Rio Muni's coffee and cocoa plantations, and one of the few men in Rio Muni with the prowess to take a goliath alive. He had guided me to the riverbank and had watched as the frog disappeared. "Maiana,"he said, cupping his hand to my ear, "that same fellow will be back." 148 I returned the next day, driving the 25 miles of winding jungle track from Bata to within hiking distance of the Mbia cascades. With me went Sefior Jorge Sabater Pi, a skilled naturalist with years of experience in western Africa, who is currently engaged in a National Geographic Society-sponsored study of low land gorillas.* Along the way we picked up Ond6 in the village of San Joaquin. The low booming of the water grew louder as we twisted our way on foot down a barely defined trail. Stealthier than on our previous visit and careful to stay in the shadows, we *See "'Snowflake,' the World's First White Gorilla," by Arthur J. Riopelle, GEOGRAPHIC, March, 1967.