18.1.12

The Legend of Gustav

It was September of 2010. Eric and I had just arrived in Bujumbura for the first time. We were waiting for our luggage with our hostess, L'Charitie, and making small talk. We wondered aloud about things to do in Burundi, unique features of the country, etc.

"Well," she said, "We do have Gustav." Her voice was hushed, almost reverent, shocked when we stared back with blank looks. "You have not heard of Gustav?"

She unfolded a tale of epic proportions, a tale where the lines between fact and fiction blur, a tale of a legend. Gustav, it seems, is a crocodile. Not just any crocodile, mind you, but a massive crocodile that has hunted along the shores of Burundi and DR Congo for over 60 years. His size (according to the wikipedia article) is over one ton. He hunts not just normal crocodile prey, but humans as well...a "man eater," like the lions of Tsavo. And, adding greatly to the legendary status, he has eluded death at the hands of hunters many times--he has four bullet scars on his body, has escaped traps and cages, and has disappeared for years at a time, only to resurface later on a different shore.

It's a difficult story to swallow. It sounds like a "dark and stormy night" tale, or a campfire ghost story, and Eric and I were left wondering if this was just a Loch Ness sort of thing. But no. No, indeed. Gustav is real, and apparently no longer even at large. Check out this youtube video below from September:


Incredible. Mind boggling. And it does put our hearts at rest for the years in Burundi to come. I have no idea what they will do with Gustav now that he is in captivity. Tourist trap, anyone? Perhaps there is still a chance for escape...

6 comments:

Clayton Ingalls said...

Admittedly the only stuff I know about Burundi is what the McCropders have shared and what I read in that book Eric recommended. However, as I watched the video I wondered where all the africans were. Are there a lot of indian/thai-ish people in Burundi like in the video?

The Drs. McLaughlin said...

There aren't a whole lot of non-black Africans in Burundi, but the capture of Gustav is, of course, an international event. Everyone's who's anyone was there.

Alyssa said...

So as Clayton identified, no the croc in the video was not actually Gustav. It seems Gustav is still at large and the humungous captured croc was a Filipino legend named LoLong, now in captivity and weighing 2030lb. Click here for a YouTube video featuring Gustav: www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBkPi-35QcQ

The Drs. McLaughlin said...

Fine, people. I'll check my sources next time!!

Maggie said...

Would you want to be put in with him to be eaten alive? it should not be set free. IT'S ONLY AN ANIMAL! Less than human. Of which God told Peter to kill & eat! Many humans could be fed.

Anonymous said...

how do you no that is even gustav ?? could just be a big croc , the legends that surround this creature are to great. people who have seen this croc tell tales of impossible things that it can do. as well gustav leaves for long periods of time before he surfaces which is another reason he is so famous , literally bullet proof .