Thursday, August 11, 2016

Equatorial Guinea in the Olympics: Remembering the Incredible Performance of Eric Moussambani

Eric Moussambani Malonga, born in Equatorial Guinea in 1978, gained worldwide recognition for his swimming performance at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. 

Eric, who later became known as “Eric the Eel,” competed in the men’s 100 meters freestyle race at the Sydney Olympic Games for Equatorial Guinea, despite never having raced that far before. Eric trained in hotel pool in Equatorial Guinea that was only 20 meters long; when he arrived in Sydney for the Olympics he said he had never seen an Olympic-size pool. Eric was invited to the Olympics as part of a program that allowed athletes from developing countries to participate directly without qualifying.

The winner of the 100-meter freestyle race was the Dutch van der Hoogenband with a time of 47.84 seconds. Eric clocked 1.52.72.

The race will be remembered for Eric’s strength of spirit to represent the Republic of Equatorial Guinea and swim on to complete the race, despite being an amateur on the Olympic stage. The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil are currently underway, and Robel Kiros Habte from Ethiopia has gained attention for his swimming as an amateur representing a developing country. Habte even finished the 100 meters in 1.04.95, faster than Eric. But the world will never forget Eric the Eel from Equatorial Guinea and the courage he displayed in 2000.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Equatorial Guinea's Biodiversity Featured in Audubon Magazine

Audubon Magazine recently carried a feature story on the captivating biodiversity found in Equatorial Guinea's Island of Bioko. The article highlighted the island's one of a kind bid species and scientific efforts to catalogue previously unknown species in a recent expedition.

The expedition was led by the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program, Equatorial Guinea's oldest conservation organisation, which is operated by the National University of Equatorial Guinea and Drexel University in the U.S.

The magazine reported that Equatorial Guinea is the ideal place for biologists due to its mainland jungles that boast rare animals like picathartes, chimpanzees, elephants, and gorillas. "Bioko is even more intriguing. Islands aren't usually flush with primates or forest birds, which are unlikely to cross open waters and colonize new shores. Bioko, however, was part of the mainland until 12,000 years ago, when rising sea levels cut off what had been a peninsula. It's an ark whose residents have evolved completely isolated from their counterparts on the mainland. Today at least two of the island's birds - Fernando Po Batis and Fernando Po Speirops - are found only here and some of its three dozen or so avian subspecies may well be unique species worthy of protection."

In addition to the study of indigenous bird species only found in Equatorial Guinea, the program tracks primates and marine turtles in an effort to catalogue the country's rich biodiversity.

Equatorial Guinea is a member of the Commission for the Conservation of Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa (COMIFAC). As part of the government's efforts to preserve the country's ecosystems and biodiversity, Equatorial Guinea participates in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEO) and is a signatory of the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS).

Monday, August 8, 2016

Equatorial Guinea Vice President Leads Country Delegation to Olympics Rio 2016

Equatorial Guinea’s Second Vice President in charge of National Defense and State Security, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, recently led the country’s athletes to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.