Mega Bat is it possible?

I have been asked about the possibility of the Indava being a new species of a mega bat. While anything is still possible I do not think it will be. I base this upon my knowledge that the natives sometimes will have as pets, the huge flying fox bat . They will keep the bat for a while feeding it and getting it fatter, Then they will kill and eat the fox bat.

Once in Gomlongong Village the clan leader Jon Kau brought out his rusted antique single shot shot gun and said he was going bat hunting. Bat hunting is not very hard. You find a tall tree that has 30 to 40 huge bats hanging upside down from the limbs. You shot up among the bats.  With one shot Jon Kau brought down three large flying fox bats. Taking the bats back to the village, they had, bat over the fire and bat wing soup that night.

You see the huge bats, I am talking six foot wing span, do not scare the natives as they see them daily and use the bats as a source of food.  They know what a bat looks like and this Indava creature has similar wings to a bats in that the wings are “like a bat’s wing” meaning a skin membrane.  But the other characteristics are very different.  The ability to land on a tree trunk, the ability to carry a heavy load flying, and the the “glow” or bioluminescence it can produce.

When you see these huge bats flying they do look very much as “ancient flying creatures” they have a very distinctive flying style with the huge wings compared to the size of the body.  During flight in the day time you can almost see through the thin membrane of the wing if the sun is behind the bat. I picked up on dead flying fox and held the wings out from me.  The wings were just about a far as I could spread my arms and the body in relanzon-inaki-madagascar-flying-fox-fruit-bat-in-flight-berenty-private-reserve-south-madagascarfront of my face was about a foot long. a very scary looking creature indeed.

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Fair day’s wage

Tawa Airstrip from last ridge

Tawa Airstrip from last mountain ridge

I was reminded recently about the vast difference there is in the world concerning a fair wage for a days work.

It was October and I had just landed at the grass strip in Tawa, Papua New Guinea. The bush plane which we had arrived in had departed. My guide/translator Joseph,and I needed to move my gear and ourselves eight miles over rugged terrain to our target area, the village of Bainu.  My gear and equipment all fit into  two large military style green duffle bags. Each bag weighed close to seventy pounds. I asked Joseph to find us some local help to carry the duffle bags.  With the recent rains the steep mountain trails were going to be very muddy and muddy also means slippery and slippery can cause injuries and I sure did not want any type of injury out here.

About an hour later Joseph shows up with two young girls.  I would estimate their age around fifteen years old.  Very slender and I would call “scrawny”.  Nothing like I imagined for one to be able to carry my duffle bags a hundred feet much less eight miles. Boy, was I ever wrong! Joseph had to explain to me that in this tribal area the men do not carry things. Carrying things is a womans work. So he was not able to hire any men to carry our equipment and supplies.

Typical trail going to Bainu village

Typical trail going to Bainu village

Trusting in his expertise of the local culture we started up the trail to the top of a ridge. I was slipping and sliding back as much as I was climbing up.  Very difficult climb, up and over, then back down the other side for eight long muddy hours.  Those “scrawny” girls put me to shame with their strength and agility on a steep muddy trail.  From the start they carried the duffle bags by putting the shoulder straps across their forehead and letting the bag lay crossways on their shoulders with their neck carrying most of the weight. They would beat me up to the top of a ridge and wait the next fifteen minutes or so to for me to catch up.  As soon as I got to the top of a ridge, off they would scamper, laughing and talking like it was a normal stroll through a park. Meanwhile I was panting and exhausted just to make it to the top. Rest for a while and start the torture down and up the next ridge.

One of the girls who carried my equipment for the * hour hike

One of the girls who carried my equipment for the 8 hour hike

After eight hours of torture for me, we arrived at our destination. Out of a  heart felt thanks and still in awe of these girls with  their strength and endurance I reached into my pockets and gave each girl what would be the equivalent of $5.00 US dollars.  What I thought was really cheap for the eight hours of work they had done for me.

I returned five months later to the same airstrip in Tawa. The plane was still unloading when I was bombarded with the question….”why did I pay those girls so much money?”  I had to think back to remember how much I had paid them and realized the very small amount I had given each of them. It seemed that when the girls returned to the village of Tawa and people heard what I had paid them the “wantoks” showed up for their share of the bounty. Wantoks are family relatives and in this tribal culture relatives are never said no to.  If a relative wants to stay in your hut and eat your food for months…then that is OK.  If a relative needs money and you have some you must share a portion. So these poor girls ended up losing all the money I had given them. Only because of the number of relatives that showed up claimed their portion of the excess wages.

I learned very quickly to give my guide/translator money in advance of needing to hire some one because he would know the fair wages for a days work.  So once more we traveled the same trail, in half the time because the trail was dry, and arrived at the same remote village.  After the girls had left I asked Joseph what he had paid the girls to carry the bags. Three kina, just over $.65 cents US.  Since this was a days fair wages in this area the girls were able to keep the whole amount and go buy something at the local “general store”. I learned that the $5.00 US dollars was a weeks worth of work!

Indava Bio-luminescence

I have been asked to describe the bio-luminescence that I have seen.  According to the local natives this strange flying bioluminescence is from the Inava bird. The natives claim the creatures can “glow” in three different colors. The colors are white, yellow and red.  The colors I have seen are the white and yellow bioluminescence flying.

The easiest way for me to describe this phenomenon is by comparing this bioluminescence to the street lights in a large city. The “white” glow would be very close to a bright white mercury vapor street lamp, the ones that illuminate large areas with a bright white light.  The “yellow” glow would be similar to the orange /brown sodium vapor lights that illuminate with a yellowish light. And when the natives say “bright, big light”….it is a very bright “glow” that flies across the night skies.

Now, I need to return and probe even farther and deeper into this mystery!

Indava bird Revealed

Well, revealed as to what the natives say they see and the talents of Desiree Byrd of Byrd Creative.  I had an old artistic rendering from 1994 based on the information we had back then.  Now with newer descriptions and higher quality graphics, we can maybe have a glimpse of this mystery creature. If anyone is familiar with the fossil record and pterosaurs , you will notice that this creature has characteristics of both families of pterosaurs.  The head crest of the pterodactyloids and also the long tail of the rhamphorhynchoids.  Makes you pause and wonder how a simple native sustaining in the jungle could know such details from the fossil record!  Maybe they have seen something we do not know about.IndavaBird ArtisticRendering

News from PNG

Heard from my contact in Papua New Guinea.  He is recovering from dengue fever. This his second round with this fever.  As of right now there is no preventive medicine you and take to prevent this.  It is another mosquito borne virus that attacks humans.  Since I will be traveling a couple of days through this hot spot of dengue fever I will have to be very cautious and prepare as much as possible to prevent the mosquitoes biting.  This like repellant, long sleeve shirts, gloves, everything that makes wearing them in the high heat and humidity miserable.  Fortunately my main time will be up in the mountains and the mosquito is not a problem.