We saw 'Bigfoot', claim villagers
March 18, 2002 -- The Straits Times
By Rahul Karmakar in Guwahati, Assam

One villager in north-east India captures a furry creature on video,
but experts say it could be a bear

BIGFOOT is back. So claim tribal villagers in the north-east Indian state of Meghalaya.

When Mr Nebilson Sangma revealed last month that he had stumbled across a scary, furry creature on a hunting trip in the jungles of the West Garo Hills, many thought he was spinning a tale.

But they changed their mind when Mr Dipu Marak captured on video the nesting place of the creature a few days later. The video footage apparently revealed tell-tale signs of the existence of Mande Burung - the mythical monster in these parts of India akin to Bigfoot or Yeti of the Himalayas, last spotted in 1992.

Wildlife experts and biologists had then discovered footprints measuring some 50 cm in the same area - the foothills of a peak in the Nokrek National Park.

According to Mr Sangma, the creature walked erect like a human, had built a house-like nesting place and would emerge from it frequently to feast on a banana grove.

''After overcoming the initial shock, my brother and I observed this gigantic hairy creature for three consecutive days from afar,'' he said. A trader by profession, Mr Sangma informed forest and wildlife officials about his discovery.

''It's difficult to say for sure,'' said the divisional forest officer of West Garo Hills, Mr W.G. Momin.

According to forest officials, the creature could in all probability be a bear that had come down from the Himalayan forests to the north of Meghalaya. The area is also a known elephant habitat.

But Mr Sangma contended: ''Having read books and watched television, I can differentiate between animals.''

Meanwhile, officials and villagers have been hunting for the creature in the forests, but Mande Burung seems to have disappeared as furtively as it had appeared.

Copyright The Straits Times
Credit Source: Ron Schaffner

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