Footprints indicating a creature with a two-metre stride have some Peawanuck, northern Ontario residents speculating the elusive Bigfoot may have moved in with the region's black bears and howling wolves. Footprints measuring 35-centimetres long (14 inches) and 12-cm wide (5 inches) have been spotted at the aboriginal community on the south shore of Hudson's Bay and the Chief of the Weenusk First Nation Cree had only one explanation: “Bigfoot, it's definitely not a bear,'' Abraham Hunter said firmly. ''I looked at them. They were six feet (two metres) apart, walking.'' News of the prints, first spotted on June 9, 2001 by a band member riding a four-wheeler through the bush, soon spread through the community of 250 and the hunt was on for the mythical hairy beast. But in a region where wild hairy beasts are expected, the fascination didn't last long. ''There was curiosity, people going out there for about three days,'' Hunter said. ''Then the novelty wore off.'' The tracks were alarming enough to draw the curiosity of officials with the Natural Resources Ministry however. They arrived June 14, to investigate and record the images of the footprints. ''We were surprised,'' said ministry official Brett Kelly, who admitted no one could explain what caused the tracks. But even if it is the fabled Sasquatch, which legend says stands seven feet tall and has long hairy arms, a short neck and flat face, Kelly said it's unlikely it would endanger our community. Kelly said the reserve is located on Polar Bear Provincial Park - the largest wilderness park in Ontario with a small human population. Chances of humans actually encountering the Sasquatch are very small. “To date, there have been 16 reported sightings of a Bigfoot in Ontario. At least one resides near the Weenusk First Nation,” said Hunter, who recalls a resident spotting the beast decades ago. ''About 20 years ago there was a sighting in our community,'' Hunter said. ''But none have been seen since.'' In the meanwhile, Weenusk residents are simply going about their lives. ''We're getting back to fishing and hunting,'' Hunter said. ''Things here are normal.''
© The Toronto Star, Canada 2001
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