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Mongy gets kidnapped by smugglers

Chapter 6: Mongy gets kidnapped by smugglers and Rhett and Christa have to rescue him
By Christa Maas

Inspired by the scientific information provided by Rhett Butler on Mongabay.com

Rhett's research had taken us to a small town near the port of Tarakan. We had heard stories about a group of smugglers that used barges and containers ships for large-scale sea-based smuggling of illegal timber and had hoped to find some evidence.

Rhett had taken many pictures of Orangutans and other wildlife, but also disturbing photos of illegal logging and the palm oil plantations' destructive effect on the environment. But in Tarakan, he had had no luck and we finally decided to give up. Mongy and I would start making out way back to Brazil the next day.



Oil palm plantation and rainforest

The night before, during dinner at a small restaurant, Rhett and I had been discussing the rumors we had heard about an illegal logging gang and how we had alerted the authorities to start an investigation. The waiter had been very attentive all night and Rhett and I noticed that he was listening to our conversation.

Suddenly, the waiter exploded: "Aha, I knew it" he screamed " You are the Mongabay people who have caused so much trouble telling everyone about mining, logging and palm oil. Why don't you mind your own business! Don't you understand how much money we can make with this! Who cares about a few animals and trees! We have our families to feed. I want you out of my restaurant! You trouble makers!"

We had no choice but to leave, and I mentioned to Rhett that this waiter would be the type of person who would belong to a gang of smugglers.

The next morning I was in a state of panic when I barged into Rhett's room on one of our last nights in Borneo. "Rhett, Mongy's gone! I can't find him anywhere!"

Rhett remained calm as usual: "Are you sure you looked everywhere? Concentrate... when was the last time you saw him? What did you talk about? What did he say?"

I took a deep breath and focused: "Well, earlier, we watched "Sherlock Holmes" on TV, and then I left him at the hotel and we went to the restaurant. I thought he would go to sleep on the bathroom curtain. He must have snuck out instead."

"O.K." Rhett continued, "Did you see him when you got back?"

"No, I didn't. I was so upset about that waiter we met that I went right to sleep, Oh, no... Rhett, the restaurant! Check your camera bag. Are there any fish food cookie crumbs in it?"

Rhett looked at me puzzled, but he checked his bag and sure enough there were crumbs. "You mean he snuck in there? Oh... that is not good! He must have heard our whole conversation!"

Oil palm fruit before processing

"Remember what I said last night, after the waiter threw us out? I said that he would be the typical person to become and illegal smuggler!" I was feeling very miserable now. "If I know Mongy, he took this serious and went back to that restaurant after closing. He loves Sherlock Holmes and I wouldn't be surprised if he is not out there playing detective right now. Oh, Rhett we have to find him! He might be in danger!"

"All right" said Rhett, who is quite organized despite his forest-dwelling nature. "I'll tell you what we will do. I will go to the port and you go and hide near the restaurant. He has to show up at either location. I don't think the police will look for a frog, so we have to do this ourselves. But, don't worry, we'll find him"

I immediately left and soon I was hiding behind the trash containers in an alley near the service entrance of the restaurant. I got there just in time to see the door of the service entrance open and the waiter hurry out in direction of the port. I started to follow him when I spotted Mongy. He was hopping along hiding in the shade along the walls of the houses that bordered the alley. He was wearing a trench coat and a hat- just like Sherlock Holmes, though he was missing the pipe. Mongy was much too smart to start a stupid habit like smoking and couldn't even stand the smell of a pipe!

I couldn't call out for fear of being discovered, so I followed Mongy and Mongy in turn followed the waiter.

The waiter, Mongy the Bay Frog-Spy and I soon reached the port of Tarakan. The waiter was talking to another man, a captain of a container ship: "We will have another load for you tonight" he said "So don't forget the money and remember, it's illegal timber, so don't get caught!"

"Tree killer!!!" screamed Mongy, who had forgotten that he was under cover. "Tree killers! I will tell Rhett about you and he will call the authorities!" he started to hop away, but his flippers got stuck on the hem of his trench coat. He slipped and crashed full on his face.

The waiter bent over, grabbed Mongy and put him into a sack. "Here" he said to the captain "Take him with you to the ship. I don't know what he was croaking, but I know he belongs to one of the Mongabay people and they say she can talk to him. It'll be better to keep him as a bargaining chip in case they give us any more trouble."

There was nothing I could do! How could I save my poor little frog friend? I picked up my mobile phone to call Rhett: "Rhett, I have found Mongy! He has been taken hostage by the captain of a container ship. It's anchored in dock three. What are we going to do?"

"I have been doing some investigation myself" said Rhett. "The waiter is the head of the smuggler ring we have heard about and the local authorities have been investigating him already. I will call them and let them know what's happening. Maybe I can convince them to let us look for Mongy after they make the arrests."

Well, you can imagine how anxious I was. But we had to wait until the police set up their operation. They arrested everyone involved, including the waiter and the captain, but Mongy never appeared. Finally, Rhett and I were allowed to board the ship and look for him.

"Mongy, where are you?" I called out.

"Mongy, come on out of hiding, you are safe now!" Rhett pleaded.

We looked everywhere for Mongy. But we couldn't find him. Finally I said to Rhett: "Rhett, maybe Mongy managed to escape while he was on the ship."

"Yes, but where would he hide?" Rhett answered.

"Anywhere where there is water" I replied. "But we have looked in the galley and the showers already" I answered.

"There is one place we haven't looked yet" laughed Rhett. "Follow me."

Can you guess where we found Mongy? No? Well, let me tell you, it was a quite a surprise!

Rhett took me to a tiny little bathroom near the bridge. It was only a cubicle with a toilet and a small sink. The sink was dry, so there was no chance for Mongy to keep his skin humid...and then, I saw him....two big round eyes peeking over the rim of the toilet bowl.

"Poor Mongy," I said. "Let me take you home. But first, you will need a bath! You stink."

And that was one of the few times I didn't hear Mongy protest at all.

Chapter 1: Meeting Mongy the Bay Frog
Chapter 2: Mongy the Bay Frog's Family
Chapter 3: Mongy the Bay Frog's meets Ringo the orangutan
Chapter 4: Palm oil and rain forests
Chapter 5: Mongy talks to a tree
Chapter 6: Capture and escape!
Chapter 7: In the Amazon

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