Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 8th, 2011
Okay, we in the West are now fully aware that Mumbai formerly was Bombay.
Do you know what Kolkata use to be?
Kolkata is the Bengali for and proper name now for what formerly was “Calcutta.” Kolkata is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal, located in eastern India on the east bank of the River Hooghly.
What would a hyena be doing there? Okay, being a hyena, I guess. In January 2009, two years ago, there were sightings of a hyena in Kolkata. No followup. No more news of these accounts. Is it a cryptid? Or an out-of-place cryptid. I thought I would check in again with this report, and ask Cryptomundians, anyone hear any more on this one?
In general, hyenas are most often associated with Africa, of course, with the exception of the striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena) which is an omnivorous mammal of the family hyaenidae. It lives in Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan and western India.
The striped hyena is the second largest hyena species, being intermediate in size to the spotted or laughing hyena (Crocuta crocuta) and the brown hyena (Hyaena brunnea, formerly Parahyaena brunnea), both of which live in Africa.
The Indian subspecies is the Hyaena hyaena hyaena (Linnaeus, 1758).
Seeing one in Kolkata would be quite remarkable. Perhaps not as incredible as seeing an African-type lion in Colorado, but very noteworthy, nevertheless.
Was it a dog? Was it a jackal? No, it was a ‘hyena’ – seen from a plane. At least that’s what the pilot flying an Nagpur-Kolkata Indigo aircraft thought he saw on the runway moments before touchdown on Tuesday evening [20 January 2009].
He promptly reported the sighting – probably a stray dog or one of the jackals that live in the airport grounds – to air traffic control. Officials in the control tower asked a Jet Airways flight from Mumbai, scheduled to land in a few minutes at 6.50 pm, to hover over the city. As an inspection was carried out to check for the presence of the animal, the Jet flight was delayed by 10 minutes.
Airport officials later said they immediately carried out a spot verification on the runway, but could not find any animal. TNN
“Pilot reports ‘hyena’ on Kolkata runway,” 22 January 2009, The Times of India
Thanks to Paul Cropper, coauthor of The Yowie: In Search of Australia’s Bigfoot, for passing this one along.