Ntambo Wa

Water Lion of Central Africa.

Etymology: Luba-Kasai (Bantu), "water lion."

Variant names: Ntambue ya mai, Simba ya mai.

Physical description: Length, 26 feet. Shoulder height, 5 feet. Estimated weight, 2 tons. Adults are black, juveniles are reddish-brown. One horn on the top of its head. Enormous claws.

Behavior: Amphibious. Moves swiftly both on land and in the water. Metallic, strident, powerful call like a bird's. Chases hippos and kills them.

Tracks: Three-toed. Length, 16 inches. Almost 8 inches wide.

Distribution: Kasai-Occidental Region, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Significant sighting: Gabriel Becker ran across some tracks of this animal in Kasai in the 1950s.

Sources: Charles Mahauden, Kisongokimo: Chasse et magie chez les Balubas (Paris: Flammarion, 1965); Bernard Heuvelmans, Les derniers dragons d'Afrique (Paris: Plon, 1978), pp. 207-208.

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