Scientists to investigate Bigfoot sighting in India
Indian authorities promise further study into dubious claims
mongabay.com
June 10, 2007





Indian authorities will conduct a "scientific study" to examine claims by villagers of Indo-Asian News Service

Villagers in the jungles of the Indian northeastern state of Meghalaya claim to have evidence of Bigfoot or Sasquatch, reports the Indo-Asian News Service. Government authorities said they will conduct a "scientific study" to examine the purported sightings near the border with Bangladesh.

'A team of wildlife officials and other experts would conduct a study to find out if there is any truth in claims made by locals about sighting some hairy giants similar to the elusive Bigfoot,' Samphat Kumar, the district magistrate of West Garo Hills, told IANS.

IANS reports that half-a-dozen Garo villagers claim to have seen the beast in separate sightings over the past three weeks.

'The sight was frightening - two adults and two smaller ones, huge and bulky, furry, heads looked as if they were wearing caps, and their colour was somewhat blackish brown,' IANS quoted Wallen Sangma, a 40-year-old farmer, as saying. Sangma claims to have seen hour of the creatures "in a thickly forested area near village Rongcekgre, about 350 km from the state capital Shillong" while looking for firewood.



Male orangutan

Known locally as the Mande Burung (jungle man), Bigfoot figures widely in rural fork lore around the world: Sasquatch in North America, Yeti in the Himalayas, Yowie in Australia, and Hantu jarang gigi in southeast Asia. While most scientists dismiss reported sightings, saying that it would be nearly impossible for such a such creature to avoid wider detection, the efforts to ascertain the existence of such a creature are not the first time a government in the region has acted on behalf of a cryptozoological entity. Bhutan created Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary—650 square kilometers of temperate rhododendron and pine forests in the eastern part of the country—specifically to protect the habitat of the yeti, better known as "Bigfoot" or "Sasquatch" in other parts of the world. Nevertheless, Bigfoot sightings often crop up when areas are looking to promote tourism, as was the case in early 2006 in Malaysia, when teams of scientists were sent into the rainforests of Johor state Malaysia in search of the mythical beast. Following the trend, the latest sightings in India are being looking into by the Achik Tourism Society

'We have taken photographs and video images of the footprints of the creature and their nesting. The footprints we shot were as big as 13 to 15 inches long,' Dipu Marak, general secretary of the Achik Tourism Society, told the Indo-Asian News Service.



Orangutan in Sumatra. Photos by Jen Caldwell.

'Prima facie, the descriptions given by people who saw the creatures point to Mande Burung. There is no trace of any gorilla or unidentified animals inhabiting this region,' said T.K. Marak, president of the Achik Tourism Society and a zoology lecturer at the Tura government college in West Garo Hills.

Achik Tourism Society says the "mystical monster" feeds on "wild berries, bananas, plantain tree shoots, barks and roots" and construct "a nest kind of thing using thatch and leaves with no roofs-just walls", according to Dipu Marak.

Though it is highly likely that surveys will encounter Bigfoot, they could increase interest in India's forest biodiversity, which is under threat from unsustainable logging, hunting, and conversion for agriculture. There is also a strong possibility of encountering other unknown species like the legless lizard discovered last month in the state of Orissa. While less conspicuous than bigfoot, these discoveries are nonetheless important to understanding India's rich biological diversity.

Related articles

In search of Bigfoot, scientists may uncover unknown biodiversity in Malaysia. Malaysian scientists are scouring the rainforests of Johor state in search of the legendary ape-man Bigfoot, supposedly sighted late last year. But they are more likely to encounter some less fantastic but unique creatures that dwell in these still unexplored ecosystems.

Scientists search for Mongolian Death Worm. A group of English scientists are spending a month in the Gobi desert in search of the Mongolian Death Worm, a fabled creature said to lurk in the sands of the hostile region. The three to five foot long creature is known to the locals as Allghoi khorkhoi, Mongolian for intestine worm because it is reported to look like the intestine of a cow. Mongolian nomads have made extraordinary claims about the animal, reporting that the death worm can spit a corrosive yellow saliva that acts like acid and that they have the ability to generate blasts of electricity powerful enough to kill a full grown camel.



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CITATION:
mongabay.com (June 10, 2007).

Scientists to investigate Bigfoot sighting in India.

http://news.mongabay.com/2007/0610-bigfoot.html