Posted by: Loren Coleman on October 29th, 2007
The Centre for Fortean Zoology has released the following press announcement on their forthcoming “South American Monster Hunt.” The tone and wording (such as the dubious “potentially lethal” to describe the cryptids) is their own. – Loren
On the 14th November 2007, five members of the Centre for Fortean Zoology leave the United Kingdom for South America, on their most ambitious expedition yet. They will be searching the remote swamps and jungles of Guyana. They are looking for three elusive, potentially lethal, and hitherto undiscovered animals.
a. The giant anaconda
b. The didi
c. The water tiger
As far as we are aware, this is the first cryptozoological expedition in search of evidence for the existence of these three animals that has ever been mounted. After months of complex negotiations, we can also announce that the expedition is sponsored by Capcom – one of the world’s leading video game publishers, who are concurrently launching Monster Hunter Freedom 2, their exciting new game for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable (PSP).
The expedition will take the five members, and their guides, deep into unexplored swamps in the west of Guyana. The area is so remote and poorly known that it doesn’t even have a name.
a. The anaconda (Eunectes murinus) is the largest known snake in South America. The largest specimen shot was 28ft (9m) long. However, in the past, reports have come in from Guyana of anacondas of mind-boggling proportions, 40-60ft (12-18m) long. In some areas these giants are referred to as manatorro (the bull killer). As recently as last year, a specimen estimated at being 40ft (12m) long was observed by a party of native hunters. The giant snake frightened them so much that they fled. The target area for these monster serpents is a series of remote lakes in the grasslands.
b. The didi is a more nebulous beast. It is said to walk upright like a man and be armed with scythe-like claws. It is alleged to tear out the tongues of living cattle, and leave swathes of terror in its wake. Although this last attribute may well be apocryphal, the claws in particular recall the supposedly extinct giant ground sloths or mylodonts. These bear-sized herbivores supposedly died out ten thousand years ago, but reports from across the Amazon, and surrounding areas, suggest they may well still survive.
[In The Field Guide to Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates, the Didi of Guyana is described (pp. 72-73) in more conventional terms, as a five feet tall bipedal proto-pygmy of the rainforests, covered in short black hair that makes "hooing" sounds. Meanwhile, the more massive, taller Mapinguary of Brazil's Amazon jungles is said to be a red-haired, sloping, bipedal, smelly, long-armed, apelike creature that vocalizes in roars and booms (pp. 74-75). The Mapinguary has generally been associated with the reports of pulling tongues from cattle in Brazil, not Guyana. It is the Mapinguary of Brazil, not the Didi of Guyana, that Dr. David Oren theorizes is a medium-sized extinct giant ground sloth, although most cryptozoologists still consider the majority of Mapinguary sightings are of an unknown primate. There is hope that before the local people are interviewed, the CFZ sorts out the confusion between these cryptid hominoids in their own mind. I would also be interested in learning the source of their description of "scythe-like claws" for the Didi or the Mapinguary. - Loren ]
c. The water tiger is an aggressive aquatic animal said to have pointed teeth and webbed, humanlike hands. In the past, it was reported to have attacked both people and livestock. The water tiger may be based on reports of the rare giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) which can grow to a length of 6ft (1.8m).
The group intend to interview native witnesses to gather information on the animals and search the grasslands and lakes for evidence. They are being guided by Damon Corrie – a chief of the Eagle Clan Arawak tribe – who is also one of the few people to have visited the area in question.
The group consists of:
Dr Chris Clark, engineer
Lisa Dowley, photographer
Richard Freeman, cryptozoologist
Jon Hare, science writer
Paul Rose, journalist