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Cryptozoology

Crypto-canid or wolfdog? Mysterious wolf-like animal killed in Montana

David Murray
Great Falls Tribune

Was it a wolf, some type of hybrid, or a creature that hasn’t been seen in Montana since the Ice Age?

On May 16 a lone wolf-like animal was shot and killed on a ranch outside Denton. With long grayish fur, a large head and an extended snout, the animal shared many of the same characteristics as a wolf; but its ears were too large, it’s legs and body too short, its fur uncharacteristic of that common to a wolf.

So far, the exact species is a mystery

Canid creature shot near Denton
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

So what was it? At this point, no one is 100 percent sure.

“We have no idea what this was until we get a DNA report back,” said Bruce Auchly, information manager for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. “It was near a rancher’s place, it was shot, and our game wardens went to investigate. The whole animal was sent to our lab in Bozeman. That’s the last I ever heard of it.”

Canid creature shot near Denton
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Social media from around the Lewistown area was buzzing last week; with many people chiming in on what they believed the creature to be.

Grizzly cub? Dogman? Dire wolf? Or what?

“That’s a grizzly cub,” one commentator wrote. “Under a year and starving from the look.”

“Maybe a dire wolf,” wrote another, “because I don’t believe they are all gone.”

Speculation roamed as far as identifying that animal as a crypto-canid species said to roam the forests of North America.

“That could very well be what’s being called Dogman,”  one poster suggested. “They’re spotted each day and the government quells any and all reports. Several people report being strong armed into keeping quiet about their reports by men wearing black suits. These are just facts. Look into if if you don’t believe it.”

Auchly doesn’t.

“First off (dire wolf) was a song by the Grateful Dead from 1971,” he said of the prehistoric species speculation. “I know; I listened to it many times. Number two, it’s a prehistoric animal, like mastodons and saber toothed tigers; so it doesn’t exist.”

Canid creature shot near Denton
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

As for the Dogman theory; there’s a regular Friday night YouTube broadcast called “Dogman Encounters” for those who wish to follow up on that line of thought. It comes on right after “Bigfoot Eyewitness” radio.

Nonetheless, there remains an element of uncertainty about the creature, even among wildlife biologists.

“Several things grabbed my attention when I saw the pictures,” said Ty Smucker, wolf management specialist for Montana FWP. “The ears are too big. The legs look a little short. The feet look a little small, and the coat looks weird. There’s just something off about it.”

Possible wolf/dog hybrid

Smucker’s own speculation runs toward some type of wolf/dog hybrid. He noted several occasions within the last few years in which canid predators, neither all wolf nor all dog were causing problems with ranchers east of the Continental Divide.

“We’ve had a few instances of wolf/dog hybrids out there,” Smucker said. “One was out somewhere in eastern central Montana killing sheep like crazy. Finally, we caught it and it turned out to be a hybrid.”

Elijia Velez, 14, pets a wolfdog during the Children’s Network of Southwest Florida’s guided visit at the Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Naples, Florida on August 27, 2016. In addition to meeting the animals, the kids also completed two painted murals during their visit that will hang on the animal cages.
Nicole Raucheisen/Naples Daily News

Wolves and dogs are unique in the animal world, in that they can interbreed and produce offspring that can, in turn, produce their own litters. This is unlike the pairing of a horse and a donkey, which will produce a mule; but mules are always infertile and incapable of producing offspring on their own.

Wolfdog ownership and interbreeding by private citizens remains controversial.

According to the International Wolf Center, nearly all wolfdogs are bred in captivity. Wolves and dogs can breed in the wild, but this occurrence is very rare; largely because wolves are very territorial and more likely to kill an unfamiliar dog that enters their home range rather than accept it into a pack.

Wolfdogs are heavily regulated and hybrids should have a tattoo identifier

The behavioral tendencies of wolfdogs are unpredictable, ranging from bold, aggressive and territorial; to placid, submissive and friendly – even among pups within a single litter. For that reason, the breeding of wolfdogs in captivity is highly regulated.

“If you have a wolfdog hybrid it’s supposed to have a tattoo on a lip, and it’s supposed to be registered with the state,” Smucker said. “A lot of those people don’t bother following regulations.”

The unfortunate consequence is that some wolfdog owners discover they are either incapable or unwilling to care for their animals, and end up releasing them into the wild.

“Every year, thousands of pet wolves or hybrids are abandoned, rescued or euthanized because people purchase an animal they were not prepared to care for,” the International Wolf Center states. “A few facilities exist around the country that take in unwanted canines, but their resources are usually very limited.”

Aries, 8-years-old and 130-pounds, is one of the 60 rescued or abused wolfdogs who lives at Full Moon Farm in Black Mountain on September 28, 2015. Aries is a high content wolfdog whose family lineage dates back to the Chicago Zoo in the 1960s.
Abigail Margulis/amargulis@ashev

It is not clear whether the animal shot in Denton falls into this category, but the problem of irresponsible wolfdog owners is well known by FWP officials.

“Over the years we’ve had incidences of hybrids where someone has a wolfdog – and I don’t know if it gets too big or if it just wants to be free and wanders off,”

It is legal to shoot a wolf if it is preying on livestock on private property

The animal shot near Denton was not directly implicated in any livestock predation, but as FWP warden Zach Norris noted, the ranching family who shot it were well within their legal right to do so.

“It was real close to the cattle and residences,” Norris noted. “There were domestic dogs in the area and then there were children. It was legitimate for the wolf-like animal to be shot based upon Senate Bill 200. Everything was okay with it.”

Passed by the Montana legislature in 2013, SB 200 both established a wolf hunting season and made it legal for a landowner to kill a wolf at any time when the wolf is on the landowner’s private property and poses “a potential threat to human safety, livestock or dogs.”

Under SB 200, property owners who do kill a wolf are obligated to contact local authorities and allow them the chance to inspect the animal.

“It had already been loaded up and taken to the residence of the landowner,” Norris said of the Denton animal. “Typically if that kind of thing happens, we want the animal to lay where it died so we can investigate from the start.”

Smucker was eager to clear up another misconception sometimes thrown at FWP officials; that the agency is in the habit of relocating problem wolves into areas where they don’t belong.

“People think that we’re out there dropping wolves off everywhere,” Smucker said. “Fish, Wildlife and Parks has been managing wolves in Montana since 2003 or 2004, and we’ve not ever trans-located a problem wolf. The Fish and Wildlife Service tried to do that for awhile, but we just don’t do that.”

According to the department’s official Grey Wolf Conservation and Management Report, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks works collaboratively with the federal Wildlife Services to eliminate (kill) Montana wolves with a documented history of livestock depredations.

“I heard a guy talking about, ‘Oh, I saw a Fish, Wildlife and Parks trailer out in eastern Montana at the gas station. I looked in the back and there’s like a dozen wolves in there,” Smucker recalled. “I was like, yeah – maybe there was a sled dog team in there? I don’t know.”

Conspiracies, government cover-ups, oddball alien sightings aside, aggressive wolf-like carnivores shot in cattle country Montana are a legitimate concern.

The body of the animal shot outside Denton has now been transported, examined and frozen. Results from its DNA testing will likely take weeks to process.

Smucker notes that the whole debate over positively identifying the Denton animal is something of a side issue. Yes it’s interesting and fun to speculate about, but if a property owner can claim a legitimate threat to the well-being of their family or livestock from any animal; be it a wolf, dog, wolf/dog, dogman or some other mysterious creature, they have the legal right to defend those assets, up to and including using lethal force if necessary.

“If you’re letting your dog run wild and it’s chasing livestock, the property owner has the right to shoot it,” Smucker said. “Whether it’s a wolf or a dog chasing cows, or a dog that looks like a wolf; in Montana on private land, property owners and livestock producers have every right to shoot a wolf.”

“Tell us about it and we’ll come and get it,” he added. “That’s about it.”

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Cryptozoology

More Alleged Water Monsters Spotted in Canadian Lakes and Rivers

There are over 30,000 lakes and countless rivers in Canada, so the odds are in favor of there being a few unexplained water monsters swimming in bodies of water other than Okanagan Lake and its Ogopogo. In fact, just this week a parks and recreation director spotted some as-yet-unidentified thing making a large wake in Kamloops Lake. Now comes word of multiple recent sightings with videos and pictures in Shuswap Lake in British Columbia and one in the Bow River of Alberta’s Banff National Park. Is something waking the monsters of Canada?

“I was kind of hoping to see it again and to my surprise I think that I did. Whatever it was, it was big. It looked like there were some kind of black humps. I had seen it twirling around a bit and then it went under.”

On May 14, Dawn Dumont saw something with “black humps” twice in Shuswap Lake – once in the coastal town of Scotch Creek and again in Salmon Arm. She was quick enough to capture the second encounter on her cell phone and posted int on Facebook, where many people called it the Shuswaggi lake monster. Shuswap Lake measures 55 miles (89 km) long, 3 miles (5 km) wide and up to 528 ft (161 m) deep – plenty big enough for a lake monster. (See the video here.)

Native legends about such a creature go back centuries, but the first modern alleged encounter was reported in 1904 by a Shuswap First Nations tribe member who claimed he killed and skinned a water creature the size of a bear, but with 12-inch-long flat feet like a mole. Other sightings have been reported, including one in 1984 of an alleged 25-foot sea serpent with 7 humps. However, 2019 may be the year of the Shuswaggi. In April, two Shuswap fishermen recorded something with black humps swimming around their boat. (See the video here.) They have no idea what it might have been, but they plan to go back and fish for it. (To paraphrase a famous line from “Jaws” – they’re gonna need a bigger boat.)

“After an hour hiking, we took a break on a hill with a great view of Bow River where my sister and I saw what appeared to be a prehistoric animal swimming. I pointed my sister to what I was seeing, and she too stood shocked. I immediately took photos, and after evaluating them, my sister and I responded with the same conclusion – the Loch Ness Monster.”

Sigh. It can’t be the Loch Ness monster because the Bow River isn’t the Loch Ness, but that’s what Matthew D’Amico reported seeing last week in Banff National Park – a creature with a “long neck protruding out of the water.” That “neck” makes the thing look like the alleged monster in the infamous 1933 Surgeon’s photo of the Loch Ness Monster which turned out to be a hoax sighting. This one has more the makings of a log, especially without a video, a wake, any landmarks or objects to help size it, etc. (See the picture here.)

Unless you see it here, it’s not the Loch Ness monster.

As far as the Shuswap Lake sightings are concerned, wanna-believers are hoping it’s an unknown creature or a 34-million-year-old Basilosaurus or some other extinct marine mammal or giant lizard or serpent. Skeptics, as they do with Ogopogo and other lake monsters, think it’s a lake sturgeon, although even the largest measure well under 25 feet.

Is this the Year of the Shuswaggi? It’s only May and Ogopogo still has the lead in name recognition. If you see something strange in any lake in Canada, just remember to lean against a wall to steady yourself, zoom in, get other witnesses … and PLEASE don’t call it the Loch Ness monster.

Source: Mysterious Universe

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Cryptozoology

Man set to solve Iliamna Lake Monster mystery

Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 AlaskaTrekker
What lies within the depths of Lake Iliamna ?

A former marine ecologist is aiming to use underwater cameras to spot an elusive lake beast in Alaska.

Nestled at the north end of the Alaska Peninsula, Lake Iliamna is 77 miles long and as much as 22 miles wide, making it one of the largest lakes in the United States.

Like many large lakes, Iliamna is also home to its very own monster legend – a mysterious aquatic denizen of the deep that has been at the center of local folklore in the region for years.

Many fisherman swear by the creature’s existence and even claim to have encountered it first-hand.

So great is the mystery that in 1980 the Anchorage Daily News offered a $100,000 reward for tangible evidence or scientific verification of a previously undiscovered species in the lake.

Now in a renewed bid to find out what lurks in Iliamna’s depths, former marine ecologist Bruce Wright will be visiting the region this summer armed with a special underwater camera.

He will also take samples of the water so that it can be DNA tested.

His personal theory is that the sightings can be attributed to the presence of large sleeper sharks in the lake – a species that can grow to enormous sizes and live for hundreds of years.

“If we see a new species, that would be pretty fascinating,” he said. “And if I find a sleeper shark, that’s worth the effort too.”

“There will be plenty of questions about why they’re there and how do they make a living.”

Source: ADN.com

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Cryptozoology

Pale Humanoid Creature Recorded In The Australian Outback

While out at night, a man claimed he was driving around and came upon something from out of the ordinary. He managed to record a short clip of something crawling around on all fours. This humanoid looking creature, moved fast and was pale colored by appearance. This anonymous man, said he from a small town located in Rocky Gully, Western Australia. The location where the video was taken was within a forested area.

Pale Humanoid Creature Recorded In The Australian Outback

Certainly seeing something such as this, would startle anyone. Many are speculating what it might be. One thing is for sure, it moves fast and is smaller sized. It doesn’t appear to be a dog or cat, it is something else.

Perhaps this was merely a kangaroo. They have been known to cross the road at night. There are many wild animals that are nocturnal, maybe this is something rather rare that this man happened to capture on video. It does resemble some humanoid features considering its limbs. What it might be, is nothing more than speculation and mystery at this point.

The man said, he used his smartphone to record this mystery creature. The lights from his vehicle were enough to shine upon this thing. It seemed to come out of nowhere, he explained. When it suddenly appeared, it was swift and moved around on all fours in front of the car. Moments later, it wandered off into the darkness.

This man also said he was very confused by what he had seen. He sat motionless inside his vehicle and pondered over what he witnessed (for a few minutes) before leaving the area. It seems that he didn’t chase after where this humanoid looking creature went.

His guess was, this was some kind of unknown monster or alien of some kind. Undoubtedly, he was unable to find any kind of explanation yet and neither has anyone else yet. Speculations are, many biologists and cryptozoologists are having a hard time figuring out what this might be as well.

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