Well, it would seem that Bigfoot type creatures are not limited to the select few countries we had previously thought. As shocking as it sounds we now have India chiming in on the legendary Man-Beast. The British-based Center for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are planning an expedition to the Garo Hills of Northern India in search of what is known in India as the Mande-burung (translated to mean Forest Man).
On October 31 – appropriately Halloween, of course – a team from the British-based Center for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) will be embarking upon a truly ambitious expedition to the Garo Hills of Northern India in search of legendary, hairy, man-like beasts know as the Mande-burung – or, in simpler terminology, the Indian equivalents of the United States’ Bigfoot and the Abominable Snowman of Tibet. The 5-man team will be led by Adam Davies – the author of the monster-hunting-themed book, Extreme Expeditions – and will also consist of Dr Chris Clark, Dave Archer, field naturalist John McGowan, and cryptozoologist Richard Freeman; the latter a former keeper at England’s Twycross Zoo and the author of the book, Dragons: More Than A Myth.
Yes it is very surprising and yet intriguing at the same time. I can safely say that I never even considered India to be a Bigfoot stomping ground. However, if you think about it for a minute you come to the realization that any country could harbor such an animal as long as there is habitat and enough food to sustain a breeding population. On top of that Tibet is not too far away and is reputed to have the Abdominal Snowman or Yeti for short.
Jonathan Downes, the founder and director of the CFZ, says of these strange and elusive animals: “The creatures are described as being up to ten feet tall, with predominantly black hair. Most importantly, they are said to walk upright, like a man. Walking apes have been reported in the area for many years. These descriptions sound almost identical to those reported in neighboring Bhutan and Tibet. Witnesses report that the Mande-Burung – which translates as forest man – is most often seen in the area in November.”Downes continues: “The Garo Hills are a heavily forested and poorly explored area in Meghalaya state in the cool northern highlands of India. The area is internationally renowned for its wildlife, which includes tigers, bears, elephants and Indian rhino and clouded leopards.”He adds: “The Indian team will be led by Dipu Marek, a local expert who has been on the trail of the Indian Yeti for a number of years and has, on previous occasions, found both its nests and 19-inch long ‘footprints.’ The expedition team has also arranged to interview eyewitnesses who have seen the Mande-Burung. Camera traps will be set up in sighting areas in the hope of catching one of the creatures on film.”As for what these creatures may actually represent, Downes has a few thought provoking ideas: “The Mande-Burung may be a surviving form of a giant ape known from its fossilized teeth and jaw bones, called Gigantopithecus-Blacki, which lived in the Pleistocene epoch around three hundred thousand years ago. This creature is, of course, extinct. However, much contemporary fauna such as the giant panda, the Asian tapir and the Asian elephant that lived alongside the monster ape, still survive today. It is thought by many that Gigantopithecus also survives in the impenetrable jungles and mountains of Asia. Its closest known relatives are the Orangutans of Sumatra and Borneo.”And as Downes carefully notes, the CFZ’s intrepid explorers are no strangers to heading off into the vast unknown in search of mysterious and elusive creatures: “Last year the team, who investigate mystery animals all over the world, travelled to Sumatra in search of a small, bipedal ape known as the Orang-Pendek. Dave Archer and local guide Sahar Didmus saw the creature, and the group brought back hair that was later analyzed by Dr Lars Thomas at the University of Copenhagen. The DNA proved to be similar to an orangutan’s, an animal not found in that part of Sumatra.”
Needless to say, I will be providing right here at Lair of the Beasts both careful and up to date information, as and when the team reports in to the Devonshire, England headquarters of the CFZ. Will the fearless five really turn up hard evidence in support of the theory that giant apes – possibly even surviving, relic populations of the presumed-extinct Gigantopithecus – actually do inhabit the wilder parts of India? Only time will tell…