Numerous eyewitnesses in the southeastern
From the Florida Everglades through the Louisiana Bayou and on into the Big Thicket Preserve of Texas, there are 1,650,000 square miles of interconnected forest and swamps. In this mostly undisturbed wilderness, there are tales of the Skunk Ape. Joy McGirt of the Creek-Seminole Nation and Gary Hawk Perkins of the Houma Nation tell of ancient Native American tales of this creature that they say has always been there.
An 1829 newspaper story tells of an early encounter between the creature they call the “
The creature was first referenced as the Skunk Ape in 1850. An
In 1983, Dan Jackson reported having an encounter with this creature in
Scott Kessler, whom would later become a Skunk Ape researcher, had an encounter with Skunk Apes when he was a seven year old boy. In 1977, Kessler was camping with his family near Trout,
Wildlife tracker Dan Jackson tried to trap a Skunk Ape in 2002. He believed that a Skunk Ape was going through a local dumpster. He left out orange juice with a sedative in it near the lid of the dumpster with the plan of sedating and capturing the creature. As he watched the trap overnight, he eventually fell asleep. He woke to a Skunk Ape rummaging at the dumpster.
In August of 2000, paramedics were called to the scene of an accident near Trout,
Only 20 miles from the scene of the car accident, there were numerous other sightings in
Perhaps the best evidence of a Skunk Ape was sent to the Sarasota City, Florida Police Department on 22 December 2000. An anonymous letter arrived with two photographs. The letter said that there may be a wild orangutan roaming the area. The photographs show what appears to be some sort of primate similar to Skunk Ape descriptions.
Robert Carr of the Archeological & Historical Conservancy believes that there has been enough sighting to believe that people are really seeing something. Carr says that the Skunk Ape sightings are similar to the Bigfoot sighting in other parts of the country. The Skunk Ape has longer reddish fur vs. the normally shorter and darker fur reported in Bigfoot sightings. The Skunk Ape is normally reported as being shorter in stature than the Bigfoot sightings.
According to Carr, southern
Ron Magill of the Miami Zoo states that it is possible for an animal to remain well hidden in the swamps of the southeastern
The question about the Skunk Ape is whether these sightings are some unknown creature, an escaped primate population or nothing at all. The MonsterQuest team focused its investigation on three areas. They are sending an expedition to
MonsterQuest sends a Skunk Ape expedition to
Dr. Bambenek is a wildlife scent specialist who has been developing hunting scents for over 35 years. He has developed a pheromone chip that will hopefully attract any ape like creature. The chip is made from the vaginal bacteria of humans and apes and is a scent that Bambenek believes should be successful if there are any primates in the area.
The team sets up numerous camera traps in the area. They choose a variety of terrain including the innermost areas of the swamp that are accessible by airboat only. The pheromone chips are deployed as bait in the areas of the camera traps.
The Shreveport Fire Department also helps in the hunt for the Skunk Ape. Bloodhounds from the Search and Rescue crew are brought in to search for the Skunk Ape. Using the pheromone chips as the scent, the bloodhounds are sent looking for a live ape-like creature. Bambenek and Kessler use recorded gibbon calls as a lure for the Skunk Ape. Most primates will attempt to defend their territory from other primates, so the calls would hopefully draw in any Skunk Ape.
Unfortunately this expedition does not yield any results. The bloodhounds are unable to find the scent of any ape-like creature. After several days in the swamp, the review of the camera traps do not show any sign of a Skunk Ape.
Miami Zoo orangutan expert Crystal LeMaster examined the
Skunk Ape Remains
One question that has faced Skunk Ape Researchers is the question of why have no Skunk Ape bodies ever been found. Wildlife expert Peggy Callahan has devised an experiment to determine the rate of decay for the body of a potential Skunk Ape. Along with photographer Jim Title, Callahan placed the carcass of a freshly killed deer in the wilderness. A time lapse camera filmed the carcass in order to determine how fast the body of large mammal would decay. The body decayed at a rate that astounded Callahan. By day seven, maggots had reduced the body of the deer to an unrecognizable pile of bones. Callahan states that the bones would soon be carried off by scavengers or covered by leaves. Callahan believed that in an extremely moist environment like the
The MonsterQuest team was unable to find any proof of the existence of a Skunk Ape. The
The MonsterQuest episode entitled “Swamp Beast” first aired on the History Channel on 26 December 2007.
MonsterQuest investigated similar Bigfoot stories in the episodes