Nandi Bear

A

Anonymous

Guest
Does anyone know if there have been any sightings of the Nandi "bear" more recent than those documented by Bernard Heuvelmans in "On The Track of Unnown Animals"? And any more recent theories on what the animal is?

Heuvelmans described so many different theories for the creature's identity, and so many differenet looking eyewitness accounts, that, apart from it being vaguely bearlike, it is very hard to tell exactly what the Nandi bear even looked like. I think this is quite similar to the modern day Chupacabra (especially as both mutilated domestic animals, the Nandi "bear" eating the brains of cattle, Chupa draining the blood from goats) where a cryptid may exist, but the legend becomes so widespread that any unfamiliar or unrecognised sighting or phenomena becomes attrbuted to the Nandi bear or to the Chupa.

The most likely theories as I recall were either a giant baboon or a giant short-faced hyena (both quite recently extinct and in the right continent). This also makes the Nandi bear quite similar to the American "werewolf" type beasts and Shunka Wara'kin (see my other thread).

Another theory for the Nandi "bear" mutilations was that they were carried out by some sort of cultists or "terror" gang (perhaps connected to the Kenyan Mau Mau) mutilating cattle while disguising themselves as animals. Does anyone think this theory might also apply to the mutilations supposedly carried out by the chupacabra? A disguised human might explain some of the weirder Chupa sightings.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Articles on the Nandi Bear etc, can be found in Jon Downes' crypto mag "Animals & Men", his Centre For Fortean Zoology is on the web.
 

amyasleigh

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
847
Reaction score
351
Points
69
Am wondering whether there is known to anyone, any relatively recent info concerning what has always been one of my favourite cryptids – Kenya’s Nandi Bear.

This post prompted by a relatively recent, brief-ish correspondence on the site “cryptozoology.com” – whose posters run more or less the whole gamut from hard-line sceptics, to people who could equal, or better, the White Queen – with suggestions about the N.B. still being around today, and being not just one, but two, unidentified and uncatalogued creatures: a true bear, and a giant mustelid (!)

A look back through the archives of the Cryptozoology sub-forum here, yielded minimal Nandi Bear references: one “in passing”, in the thread about the alleged North American “honey bear” (p. 24); and one very brief thread re the N.B. itself (p. 34). As said, I have always been rather fascinated by this one – likely, a childish predilection toward the more spooky-and-scary cryptids. The Nandi Bear chapter of Heuvelmans’s “On the Track of Unknown Animals” was, for me, fascinating – though if I have things rightly, the most recent of reported encounters therein, dated from some forty years before the book’s publication.

I’m wondering if everyone who is basically “on this planet”, is unanimous that if the Nandi Bear, whatever it was, ever existed, it is for sure, no longer with us today; or maybe, “otherwise”. With Kenya being a country long in the throes of an extreme population explosion, one would take it that the country’s mountain forests, 100 years ago extensive and maybe sheltering who-knew-what mysterious life-forms, have been very severely depleted between now and then; and what tracts of them may survive, must have been thoroughly traversed and studied... and the corollaries of that, concerning wildlife, known or unknown – or there are perhaps, other views? Would be interested to hear any ideas on this matter.
 

oldrover

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Oct 18, 2009
Messages
4,023
Reaction score
1,520
Points
174
One of the candidates, an over size Hyena, has popped up more recently, the 50’s or 60’s I think. I can’t remember where or when I read this, only that it was linked by the author to the Nandi Bear. It involved one of the Leakey family, I think it was Lious (who died in 1972).

I Can’t remember much about the article but I think it was something like.

One of the Leakeys found or was shown fresh skulls which appeared to be similar to a those of brown hyenas, but significantly larger in size. Based on this there was some discussion between (?) Leakey and whoever, during which speculation arose that there might be an unknown fifth species of hyena, larger than the spotted. Or at least that the skulls were different enough to warrant further investigation.

It was also noted by the article's author, not either of the original protagonists, that some extinct species of large hyena may be fairly closely related to the brown.

Apparently during later examination/correspondence interest fizzled out, and I think there was some suggestion that one party questioned why any notice had been taken in the first place.

I've always liked the bitey ones too.
 

amyasleigh

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
847
Reaction score
351
Points
69
Thanks for posting the link – absolutely fascinating. You say that the version you read was, to your recollection, more sensational – well, version as per link strikes me as definitely colourful in its own right ! By far the most (relatively ) recent detailed account I have seen, of an encounter with this Kenyan “whatever” – all such that I had come across previously, were from the First World War era or earlier.

One is hard put to it not to think – what is it about “crypto-creatures”? Somehow, any prospective hard physical evidence for them always seems to “evaporate”, one way or another. The skin and skeleton of this beast, and the non-duplicatable colour slides taken, sent off by ship from Kenya and never arriving in London... it’s difficult to avoid the feeling that in these matters, “someone up there” is playing tantalising games with the bemused humans.

I remember my first-ever learning of the Nandi Bear / “chemosit” – in a children’s “annual” which briefly came my way (I didn’t own it, alas) in 1957, when I was aged eight or nine. There was an article in the annual, just two or three pages, titled “Mystery Animals”. Gave a brief, simply-but- well-written, run-down on several such, in various parts of the world – if I recall rightly, it basically omitted the Abominable Snowman / Yeti, which had already been pretty well “done to death” in the media in the mid-1950s. The article was accompanied with two illustrations – totally delicious nightmare-fodder – showing natives confronting their local “monster”, and rather coming out on the losing end of the encounter. One picture featured a North American Sasquatch, the other, the artist’s idea of a Nandi Bear. It was without a doubt, that article for kids, which got me hooked lifelong on this stuff.
 

oldrover

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Oct 18, 2009
Messages
4,023
Reaction score
1,520
Points
174
Yes driving home from the Golf club heavily armed to deal with a marauding house boy, pausing only briefly to shoot a mysterious beast, and pop it into the boot. Gripping stuff.

Reminds me of Captain Hitchens in 'On the track of unknown animals' who kept a straight face while grappling with half of Africa's mystery beasts including the Nandi Bear. Which I believe he claimed ate his fox terrier.

The version I read though didn’t have any of that but I’m pretty sure made out that Lious Leakey wasn’t able to conclusively identify the remains as a known species. So it was more dramatic in that way. But then I doubt there’s any way to check if there’s any truth in either version.

One is hard put to it not to think – what is it about “crypto-creatures”?

True but then reality is often downright weird. Remember James Stewarts’s wife smuggling Yeti hands about in her make up case. If that is true.

Personally I didn’t come across the Nandi Bear until I was a lot older, about twenty. To me it’s always been in the Possible but probably extinct category too. I always really liked the idea, apparently like Louis Leakey, of it being a stroppy chalicothere

It was without a doubt, that article for kids, which got me hooked lifelong on this stuff.

I understand that completely with me it was an animatronic Thylacine.
 

amyasleigh

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
847
Reaction score
351
Points
69
Yes -- "relict Chalicotherium" my very favourite N.B. explanation.

Animatronic Thylacine? Where on earth did you come across one of those?

My introduction to the thylacine, was a picture -- steel-engraving type -- in an atlas-cum-geographical-encyclopedia which we had at home in my childhood (tome lost, alas, in subsequent family ups-and-downs). The book must have dated from the late 19th century, at which time the thylacine was very much alive and kicking in Tasmania.
 

oldrover

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Oct 18, 2009
Messages
4,023
Reaction score
1,520
Points
174
Only on TV, it was part of an ABC documentary series I saw when I was about 15, which I've since tracked down bought and lost. I knew what a marsupial was from quite a young age, and was always fascinated by them. When I found out there was a dog like version I couldn't believe it.

The closest I've come to anything solid is the mounted specimen in London. My father on the other hand missed a live one in London Zoo by only a few years.
 

amyasleigh

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
847
Reaction score
351
Points
69
Same with me -- saw the Natural History Museum's mounted one a couple of years ago. I thought it looked a bit shabby and faded; but of course the Museum's dispatching a representative to Tasmania to shoot a new one, is not an available option.

Interesting how a fair number of thylacines were collected for, and sent to, zoos, often far from their native island. Have read of a mounted specimen now in the American Museum of Natural History in New York -- a thylacine which had had a couple of years' life in the Bronx Zoo (after being shipped from Tasmania to the U.S. in the midst of World War 1). Presumably thylacines were found not keen to breed in captivity; had they been readier to do so, the species might be still with us...

An altogether extremely cool animal: if there's one creature I'd wish most heartily of all, still to be surviving in hiding, it's the thylacine. Despite occasional alleged reports, I can't feel very hopeful.
 

oldrover

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Oct 18, 2009
Messages
4,023
Reaction score
1,520
Points
174
Realistically I'm very pessimistic also. I don't doubt they were around in 1982, the 1936 extinction date being often recited but never accurate, but now it may may very well be too late. If so what a loss.

I'm not sure about their captive breeding, I think the zoo population was wiped out by the same distemper like disease which hit the wild population.
 

oldrover

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Oct 18, 2009
Messages
4,023
Reaction score
1,520
Points
174
This is the most heart rending of all the Cryptids. It isn't something which may or my not have existed, it did. It's one of, if not the most remarkable of them all, so familiar yet so unique.
 

amyasleigh

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
847
Reaction score
351
Points
69
We’ve achieved total “topic drift” in this thread, not so?

I personally have doubts as to the thylacine’s lasting as long as 1982; but for sure, 1936 can’t have been actual extinction date – just the last instance of anyone seeing, with total certainty, a living thylacine (the solitary specimen in the Hobart Zoo).

There’s a wonderful account of an expedition made just after World War 2 by the Australian naturalist and conservationist David Fleay, with his family, to the far west of Tasmania. Written by Fleay’s daughter, and illustrated with some fascinating photographs taken at the time. Expedition’s primary objective was to capture a breeding pair of thylacines and take them to Fleay’s fauna sanctuary at Healesville near Melbourne. Failure, by a narrow margin; a thylacine (guaranteed, by analysis of droppings and hair left) was caught in one of their traps, but managed to extricate itself.

Account found on

http://www.naturalworlds.org/thylacine/additional/fleay
/Fleay_expedition_1.htm
 

amyasleigh

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
847
Reaction score
351
Points
69
Re my immediately previous post -- I'm not computer-savvy -- reference given, seems not to work as a direct link. Would seem necessary to enter it character-by-character and log on -- sorry !
 

oldrover

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Oct 18, 2009
Messages
4,023
Reaction score
1,520
Points
174
Just cut and paste the link, it automatically sorts itself out, great article well worth reading.

On the subject of chalicotheres the Heuvelmans thread reminds me doesn't he quote a Zande soldier who, on seeing a horse said that he was familiar with a similar animal but with claws.

We’ve achieved total “topic drift” in this thread, not so?

Yes we have. I've posted a link to an article with a similar theme on the 'on the track of the Tasmanian wolf' thread.
 

amyasleigh

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
847
Reaction score
351
Points
69
oldrover said:
On the subject of chalicotheres the Heuvelmans thread reminds me doesn't he quote a Zande soldier who, on seeing a horse said that he was familiar with a similar animal but with claws.
Have done a fresh read-through of Heuvelmans's Nandi Bear chapter in "On The Track Of...". So far as I can see, he mentions the "relict chalicotherium" suggestion only glancingly, in a couple of pages at the end of the chapter -- nothing about the local and his comment on first seeing a horse.

However -- I recall, a long time ago, reading a book covering the N.B. and other cryptids: said book went more fully into the "N.B. = chalicotherium?" idea; and I suspect, included the "local and horse" anecdote -- I'm certain I've encountered that anecdote some time in the past. Wish I could remember details re the book in question: maybe by Ivan T. Sanderson???
 

oldrover

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Oct 18, 2009
Messages
4,023
Reaction score
1,520
Points
174
I'm sure it's in 'on the track of etc', now that I think about it though, I seem to remember for some reason it's in the Mokele mbembe section.

I've probably just stuck it in there with the NB in my own mind, because it reminded me of a chalicothere.
 

Kondoru

Antediluvian
Joined
Dec 5, 2003
Messages
7,987
Reaction score
3,313
Points
239
Ive read Gandar Dowers `The Spotted Lion`

Surely one of the most delightful cryptid/africa books written.

And illustrated with his own delightfully amateur pics.
 

amyasleigh

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
847
Reaction score
351
Points
69
oldrover said:
I'm sure it's in 'on the track of etc', now that I think about it though, I seem to remember for some reason it's in the Mokele mbembe section.

I've probably just stuck it in there with the NB in my own mind, because it reminded me of a chalicothere.
I’ve just re-read the “Mokele-mbembe” chapter in Heuvelmans – “The Dragon St. George Did Not Kill”. Yes, the bit concerning the Zande guy is in there. A reported conversation between French colonists and locals in 1932, in what is now the Central African Republic. In point of fact, one local bod, an interpreter, described (from hearsay) the local amphibian cryptid – the “dilali” or “water-lion” – as having a horse’s body and a lion’s claws. A “native guard of Zande origin” chimed in to say that also, the creature had large tusks like a walrus’s. (Presumably the “walrus” bit is a European’s gloss on what the bloke actually said.) It’s conjectured that the two men were likely speaking about two different alleged creatures.

Heuvelmans muses briefly in this same chapter, (including a quote from our friend Captain Hichens) about some of the amphibian mysteries reported from Africa – such as the “dilali” above – perhaps being surviving Chalicotheres. But he immediately rethinks: “the likeness is only partial...Moreover, it has been shown that the Chalicotheria were not amphibious, as was at first thought. One of them would make a much better Nandi bear than a ‘water-dragon’.”

This chapter in “On The Track Of...”, gives anecdotal accounts of multifarious, often huge, amphibious creatures over vast reaches of the middle of Africa, from Cameroon to the south Sudan to the Rift Valley great lakes, Zambia, and Angola, and “all contained within”. A wildly-broad range of different descriptions, some possible candidates indeed seeming more mammalian than reptilian. Heuvelmans comments, rather disarmingly, “The whole question is extremely muddled,” and “to introduce a land animal into this chapter of amphibious monsters can only confuse it even more, and God knows it is confused enough already by animals very different from one another”. And for sure, nothing such in Africa has been definitively brought to light, between 1962 and now.
 

amyasleigh

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
847
Reaction score
351
Points
69
Kondoru said:
Ive read Gandar Dowers `The Spotted Lion`

Surely one of the most delightful cryptid/africa books written.

And illustrated with his own delightfully amateur pics.
I notice mention by Heuvelmans in "On The Track Of...", of Gandar Dower's book -- Heuvelmans writes, "an exciting book...it made a good deal of noise in the British Press and brought to light more evidence..." Does sound like fascinating reading -- Amazon here I come?

It would seem -- unless there's stuff which I'm missing -- that East Africa's "spotted forest lion" is another cryptid which has gone into limbo in recent decades.
 

amyasleigh

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
847
Reaction score
351
Points
69
oldrover said:
More Hitchensesque yarns about how to deal with fearsome aquatic beasts.
http://www.strangeark.com/bfr/historical/dingonek.html
Thanks -- a wonderfully racy read. Heuvelmans gives, in his "Mokele / Dragons" chapter, a precis of the part directly about the "dingonek" -- including naming Edgar Beecher Bronson's book "In Closed Territory". These discussions foster yearnings to seek out increasing numbers of likely hard-to-obtain books from long ago !
 

oldrover

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Oct 18, 2009
Messages
4,023
Reaction score
1,520
Points
174
On that note I've just been told that my father still has a copy of one of Jordan's books, which I'm going to try to dig out.
 

oldrover

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Oct 18, 2009
Messages
4,023
Reaction score
1,520
Points
174
The book is nowhere to be found I'm afraid. I do remember one excerpt from it which my father, not a man prone to evaluate things, often quoted. It involved Jordan being treed by a buffalo, which started charging the tree. After this didn't work it open its bowels at the base of it, so that the intrepid hunter would be overcome by the smell and fall out of the tree. Apparently though he managed to hang on manfully.

If you fancy something from that era that's much more far fetched than Jordan but actually true, I'd recommend Jim Corbett's 'Man eating leopard of Ruydapryag'. It's been years since I read it but at the time it scared me to death. It's an honest and disturbing account of probably the most bizarre and sustained spate of attacks by a single animal ever, and the psychological and physical toll it had on the man called in to deal with it after the army had failed.

With the number of dead estimated between 125 and over 400, and the tendency to describe what the leopard did in some detail it's a bit of a disturbing read. Well worth it though and apparently can be down loaded for free.
 

amyasleigh

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
847
Reaction score
351
Points
69
Shame about the book by Jordan – would have been fascinating. CBW waged by a buffalo,eh? I’m struck by how all these guys seem to have written books – it has something of the flavour of a pre-Internet blogging scene, a hundred-odd years ago. “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose...”

Corbett’s offering, sounds of great interest. Fully-known animals can be plenty scary, not so? – forget your chemosits and dingoneks !
 

oldrover

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Oct 18, 2009
Messages
4,023
Reaction score
1,520
Points
174
It’s a shame that so many of these stories are so vague now, it’s hard to ever verify their worth. There are the likes of Hitchens and Jordan but then there are others we’ll never really know about. Did come across the last of my father’s hunting books though, which recounts;

The experiences and opinions of a professional ivory hunter with some thirty years of continuous living in the African Bush. 1948.

Not a pleasant book at all, and contains some sickening images. But I am assured that it contains some interesting references. One of which is the story of a famous four tusked elephant, haven’t come across it yet but in keeping with the tone of the book, I’ve a sneeking idea I might know how it ends, see link.
www.sudanarchive.net/cgi-bin/sudan?a=pdf&d=Dunepd32..

Do get a copy of Corbett’s book it’s truly amazing. Even reading the book and knowing damn well it’s about a leopard, you can’t avoid wondering if the books protagonists are right when they start to question whether it’s a flesh and blood animal or something else. I think anyone with an interest in Fortean themes would find it fascinating I can’t believe it’s not more well known.

Even the fashion advice it gives is priceless;

"I was wearing an article of clothing called shorts, which left my legs bare in the region of my knees."
 

amyasleigh

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
847
Reaction score
351
Points
69
Four-tuskers – and their hypothesised role – I take it that this is something no longer known, and not verifiable, in “these degenerate days”.

With Fortean open-ness to “more things in heaven and earth” – which I for sure go along with – right, just because it’s an animal of a known flesh-and-blood species doing it, doesn’t preclude – in amazing cases such as this – wondering about possible involvement of other stuff.

Jim Corbett was a “card”, certainly. If I remember rightly – as from India’s becoming independent in 1947, didn’t he decide to move to East Africa? He was – not so? – Anglo-Indian (mixed-race European / Indian) – feared that things would go badly for his people, post-independence. As things turned out; India being a relatively tolerant place, the Anglo-Indians there, have made out fairly OK -- and he being anyway as at 1947, a national hero for his hunting / conservation activities, he personally would have had no problems (there’s a national park there named after him, isn’t there?). Still, “people must do what people must do”.
 

Kondoru

Antediluvian
Joined
Dec 5, 2003
Messages
7,987
Reaction score
3,313
Points
239
Ive read that one too, he was a great lover of nature, wasnt he?

Gandar Dowers book is indeed very readable. His observations on lion hunting are very candid.
 

oldrover

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Oct 18, 2009
Messages
4,023
Reaction score
1,520
Points
174
Ive read that one too, he was a great lover of nature, wasnt he?
Do you mean the leopard book? He was a nature lover in later life but as I remember in his earlier books he was very much of his time, happily hacking and shooting his way through the local wildlife. I'm on the lookout for Gandar Dower's book, which I now find is another lost book of my father's.

a national hero for his hunting / conservation activities, he personally would have had no problems (there’s a national park there named after him, isn’t there?). Still, “people must do what people must do”.

It seems like he did leave as a result of independence, and this does strike me as odd. As you say there doesn’t seem to be any personal reason for him to go. Strange.
He wasn’t Anglo Indian by the way, he was of Irish extraction.
 

Kondoru

Antediluvian
Joined
Dec 5, 2003
Messages
7,987
Reaction score
3,313
Points
239
Ive only read the Leopard book, Im afraid.

But he certainly extolls the benifits of camera safaris.

Gandar Dower did a lot of photography in later life; The Spotted Lion is his first book and his first experience with Africa.

Basically he goes out on a lion hunt, because he thinks its the fun thing to do, but then realises theres not much fun in potting a sleeping lion and being reassured its the finest in Kenya...food hunting, whether bunnies or antelope is much more his thing.

He certainly does have intentions of bagging the Marozi, but he realises its rare, and so concentrates on cameras and live traps.

And Hes not that impressed with Africa...its too touristy for his likes.

(I will leave just how he atones for his guilt over what he calls `the murdered lion` to readers of the book...Save its delightfuly and sincerely darwin award...He survives the ordeal and is rewarded by the real adventure of the Marozi.)
 
Top