Ropen & Chupacabra
Season 1, Episode 3
Air date June 20,2007
Creature Ropen


Episode guide
Haunted Village & Naga
Bigfoot & Nahuelito

"Welcome to Papua New Guinea. Let's cover our bags and hit the road."
--Josh Gates

Josh returns to Papua New Guinea, this time he is in search of a nocturnal, Pterodactyl-like creature called the Ropen. Next, he heads to Chile to find the legendary Chupacabra, a blood-sucking creature with glowing red eyes. This episode originally aired at June 20, 2007.


The ResearchEdit

At Destination Truth Offices, Josh and his team examines a report about a pterodactyl-like bird living in the jungles of Papua New Guinea, where natives have christened the creature as the Ropen. The Ropen is said to be dangerous and featherless, and has a wingspan of 15 feet. Some experts say that the creature is a pterosaur that survived the era of the dinosaurs by living in dense caves. The Ropen is also said to have a glow that it emits in its stomach and tail, and that glow has been seen by eyewitnesses at night, including one U.S. explorer, who captured the glow on film.

The AdventureEdit

The DT team flew to Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea. Josh meets Steve, their guide and translator, at a local bazaar. The team then flew to the city of Lae on "the oldest plane in the South Pacific". Once on Lae, the team meets up with a Pastor Jacob Kepas, who witnessed the Ropen. The pastor said that the lights of the Ropen are round and can be found in the area of its stomach and wingtips. The team then travels by boat to the Salamaua peninsula, which was once a critical base for the Japanese during World War II, and is now a hotspot for Ropen sightings. Next, Gates and company meet with Fabian, a man who claims to have seen the Ropen fly at night. The team then hires Max, an expert guide, to take them to a cave where the Ropen allegedly lives. They travel by banana boat to the other side of the peninsula to begin their hike to the cave. Halfway up the mountain, the team suspected that Max is leading them in the wrong way. Max claims that "the place has changed". The team head back to the village and hired a new expert guide named Norman. They hiked up the mountains and found their first cave, but it was sealed shut by a landslide. Continuing their hike, they stumble upon a old Japanese tunnel but disregards it. Again, on the hike, they came across some old graves, which had been opened up. The guides told them that the Ropen opens the graves to take away the bodies.

The InvestigationEdit

Finally, after much trekking, the team found their cave, but the opening was small. At 7:03 PM, Josh and Neil squ

Light captured by Josh's camcorder

eezed their way into the cave and found multiple droppings. Further in, the cave becomes unstable and dangerous so they resurface at 8:19 PM. They set up base camp near the cave, and also setted up four infrared night vision cameras, which were pointed to the night sky. Now, it's a waiting game. At 10:32 PM, a small moving light was detected by Camera 2,

The bright, enormous orb captured by Camera 2

but was debunked as just a bug. At 11:47 PM, Josh sees a moving light in the night sky through his camcorder, and Camera 2 captures a bright, enormous orb. Josh heads to where Camera 2 was pointed, and captures two lights on camera. It can't be a plane because planes are not allowed to fly at night there and it was too big to be a star or a satellite. Josh explains that Camera 2 is pointed to the ocean and it's positioned near a sheer cliff. After a few hours of looking in the sky, the team pack up their investigation.

The ResultsEdit

The next morning, Josh shows the footage from Camera 2 to Fabian. He said the light from the camera was the
220px-Rhyticeros plicatus -Lincoln Park Zoo-8a-3c

Blyth's hornbill

Ropen and it was emitting from it's stomach. Back in the States, Josh heads to the Stutchman Forensics Lab in Napa, California to show the video to audio/video forensics specialists, Steve Buller and Gregg Stutchman. The experts said that the orb from Camera 2 wasn't a camera malfunction, because a malfunction would be stationary, and it was unlike anything they've ever seen. Josh then meets with Dr Andrew Engilis, a UC Davis zoologist. Dr. Engilis states that the Blyth's hornbill could be mistaken for the Ropen, since it is three and a half feet long, from head to tail, and it has a wingspan of 5 feet. Josh agrees with the zoologist but Josh states that the hornbill had nothing to do with the Camera 2 orb, so he shows it to the zoologist. Dr. Engilis says that the light was something that he has never seen before. In the end, Josh learns two things: never enter a Ropen cave without back repellent and that they have seen something that night, what it was they don't know.


"Some even suggest that the creature is a vampiric alien or even worse, a disgruntled ex-cast member of the Muppets."
--Josh Gates

The ResearchEdit

Josh turns his attention to some intriguing mystery: all around South America, particularly Chile, farmers are being plagued by a creature that attacks local livestock and sucks out their blood. The creature is known to have dark hair, black leathery skin, and glowing red eyes. This was known as the Chupacabra, which means goat sucker. It is also said that it can walk upright and can jump high.

The AdventureEdit

The team flies from Los Angeles to Santiago, Chile. With their translator Naomi by his side, Josh interviews Alberto Urquiza, an expert on Chupacabra. Urquiza explains that the creature has black hair, big red eyes, and a wide chest, and is one or two meters tall. The expert points the team to Buin, a city where a zoologist named Ignacio Idalsoaga knows that there is an explanation for the killings. The zoologist says that the attacks were made by a local ferret was responsible for the attacks. After seeing one, Josh concludes that the animal was too small to attack a goat or a man so it couldn't be the Chupacabra. Next, the team heads to Donihue, where most of the livestock were slaughtered by the creature. Josh meets up with Irma, a witness who claims that her hundred chickens were killed by Chupacabra. Irma shows Josh a hole in the fence where the creature busted in, but the hole was too small. Next up, Josh interviews a bus driver named David, who claimed that he collided with Chupacabra with his bus, which broke the windshield. David then shows Josh a piece of hair he found in the bus's windshield wipers after the crash. The team then headed to the town of Puemo, using David's bus, to interview with Juan, a man who claims to have been attacked by the creature. Juan then points the team to the mountains near Puemo, where he saw his attackers run off to. Before heading to the mountains, the team visited the market, where they found numerous foosball tables and an Elvis impersonator.

The InvestigationEdit

At 9:03 PM, the team headed for the mountains and prepared base camp. They placed three infrared night vision cameras beside base camp and one pointed to two chickens as bait. At 11:17 PM, the team begins their search. They hear something scurrying down the hill so they followed it and found a cave. Josh enters the cave with his cameraman to find any signs of life. As they enter, they found out that the cave forks in two directions. Josh and his cameraman enter the first tunnel but was a dead end so they head back. As they do, they hear something scurrying behind them. They follow the noises and stumble upon two hair fragments. At 1:18 AM, they exited the cave and searched in the grasslands outside. They then again hear scurrying noises in the bushes. Josh uses the Bullard thermal imager to find what's making those noises, but found nothing. At 3:58 AM, the team pack up. Josh concludes that they may have not found the Chupacabra, but there is enough evidence that explains that something is attacking the livestock, and whatever it was, it was bigger than a ferret.

The ResultsEdit

Back at the US, Josh takes the hair fragments, from the cave and from David the bus driver, to Dr. Elizabeth Wictum PhD, a veterinary geneticist in UC Davis. After a two-hour procedure of extracting DNA from the hairs, Dr. Wictum explains that the two hairs from the cave were from a human while the David's hair was inconclusive since there were no results of mammalian DNA on the hair.  


  • Ropenboat

    Boat used by the team to go to the Salamaua peninsula

    To get to the Salamaua peninsula, the DT team rode a white speedboat.
  • The team rode on a banana boat with Max to the other side of the peninsula to look for the Ropen's caves.
  • The team briefly rode David's bus in order to talk to him about his encounter with the Chupacabra.


Josh: After a minute of trying to pull the creature out of it's cage, I was expecting this kid to pull out a bloody stump instead of...a ferret. Well, arguably the meanest damn ferret I have ever seen.
Josh: So you believe in this Ropen?

Pastor Jacob: Yep.
Josh: And you're a man of God?
Pastor Jacob: Yeah.

Josh: And you believe in a dinosaur?