Gideon Koro of Umboi Island
Ropen Sighting at Lake Pung
In a remote little village on Umboi Island, around 1994, several boys (aged about eleven to fourteen)
decided to climb up to a crater lake a few kilometers to the north. Just a few minutes after they arrived at the shore of Lake
Pung, they were terrified to see a giant ropen flying over the lake surface. The boys vanished into the bush, running
home, but the fear did not soon vanish. Ten years later, an American showed up in their village and interviewed three of the
eyewitnesses. One of them was Gideon Koro.
The ropen was described by Gideon. Its tail was seven meters long; its wings were
like those of the Flying Fox fruit bat ("byung" in the local village language); the mouth of the ropen, said Gideon, was like
The interviewer, Jonathan Whitcomb (of Long Beach, California) concluded that Gideon believed that the length
of just one wing was seven meters (same as tail length).
For decades, reports of giant pterosaurs in the South-
west Pacific have
been countered, by Westerners, with
an explanation of "Flying Fox fruit bat." But those bats, although the largest type of bat in
the world, have no significant resemblance to creatures called by the names ropen, duwas, seklobali, and indava. Flying Fox bats have
practically no tails, do not glow with any bright bioluminescence, and do not eat fish.
Natives of Umboi Island have no fear
of the Flying Fox; when you can catch the bat, it makes good soup. There is no way that those boys could have been terrified at a
Flying Fox (byung) flying over a lake. There is also no way that they could have believed that a bat over a lake had a tail seven
Read much more and listen to part of Gideon's interview.
copyright 2008, 2009, Jonathan Whitcomb
This is the approximate head-shape of a creature seen by Brian Hennessy. In 1971, the Australian saw the "prehistoric" looking
creature flying over Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea. Mr. Hennessy is a professional psychologist who works at a medical
Gideon was interviewed by the explorer Jonathan Whitcomb, in late 2004.
Abram of Opai Village,
Michael of Opai,