Yetis/Migoi Park

KeyserXSoze

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Where the Yeti roams free
In the Himilayan kingdom of Bhutan, a wilderness preserve supports a yet-unseen 'strong man'

by NICOLE GORDON | posted 07.22.05 I keep hearing that the Kingdom of Bhutan, a tiny Buddhist country nestled in the Himalayas between India and Tibet, is an enchanting place. People who've traveled there describe snow-capped peaks, lush valleys and ancient monasteries. The country is especially known for its progressive environmental laws, and is sometimes even called "the last Shangri-la" for its unspoiled natural environment.

Recently, I learned an odd detail about Bhutan's approach to conservation, something that might sound preposterous here in the American West. World Wildlife Fund's Bhutan program has received a $700,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation to help the Bhutanese government upgrade management of the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary, the country's newest protected area.

Temperate forests of eastern blue pine and rhododendrons cover this 253-square-mile sanctuary. "Sakteng is unique," reported the Environment News Service, "as the only reserve in the world created specifically to protect the habitat of the Yeti, known in Bhutan as the migoi, or strong man."

Excuse me? The Bhutanese have created a 253-square-mile wildlife sanctuary for the Yeti? They are officially setting aside habitat for a mythological hairy dude known for scaring campers?

At first, I thought the story must be an error, but a little online research confirmed it. Indeed, the Bhutanese have officially given the migoi its very own home among the blue pines and rhododendrons of the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary.

Here's what we know about the migoi, which goes by the names Bigfoot and Sasquatch in other parts of the world. The ape-like creature has been a legend in the Himalayas for centuries and is even mentioned in ancient Tibetan and Bhutanese texts. It stands 8 feet tall, walks backward to evade trackers and can make itself invisible, which explains why so few people have observed it. So-called rational explanations suggest the migoi is actually a Tibetan bear, a rare species related to the grizzly, that places its back foot in the footprint of its front foot while traveling through snow, thus giving the appearance of a two-legged animal. But if the Bhutanese thought this was an explanation, they probably would have created a bear sanctuary.

Back home in the American West, we have enough trouble getting land set aside for fully real, often endangered species that we've tracked, collared or tagged, and documented for decades, that don't walk backwards or make themselves invisible. Our most iconic wild animals - -wolves, salmon, bears, lynx -- are some of those that society has been least willing to accommodate.

Case in point: In May, the Bush administration repealed the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule, immediately opening 34.3 million remote acres in the West to road construction and potentially opening many more to logging, mining and drilling. Supporters of the rule, which provided protection for some of our country's last remaining wild places, called it one of the most important conservation efforts of recent times.

Yet over in Bhutan, the migoi gets its own personal wildlife sanctuary, just in case one of these "strong men" exists to need it.

I wonder what sort of political wrangling the Bhutanese went through to create the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary. I know that the Bhutanese king has been in the international spotlight for measuring his country's progress in terms of Gross National Happiness rather than Gross National Product.

Despite such enlightenment, it's often a challenge for developing countries to set aside wildlife sanctuaries. Bhutan is a small nation, just a bit larger than Switzerland. But unlike Switzerland, the annual income per person is a paltry $730. Only 42 percent of Bhutanese are literate, and they can expect to live only 52 years.

Timber is one of Bhutan's main exports, but apparently the Bhutanese decided that conserving the trees was worth it to provide habitat for their "strong men."

Here in the American West, with our abundance of land and relative affluence, why is it so hard to convince each other and our local and national leaders to protect our wildlands? Perhaps we need some more strong men and women of our own.

Nicole Gordon is a contributor to Writers on the Range, a service of High Country News (hcn.org). She lives and writes in Boulder, Colorado.
 

PeniG

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The journalist does not consider the possibility that setting aside a reserve for the yeti may be a metaphorical way of saying "setting aside a reserve for our natural environment, where unknown riches of biodiversity can thrive whether human beings know about them or not."

Which is what nature reserves are really about, in the long run.

There may also be a religious level which is obscure to Westerners, who long ago harnessed God to the capitalist cart and made him work for his living.
 

Kondoru

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It was untill that dratted Dragon king legalised TV...

(yeah, Ok, that includes the Net, but its already having adverse affects.)

(The TV, I mean, not the Net...)

Yes, you are right, there is a religious aspect...
 
A

Anonymous

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I thought Bhutan had an official 'Yeti-Hunter' who is an apointment of the Royal Court?

Possibly not Bhutan but definately one of those little Himalayan kingdoms.

My parents were there a couple of years ago. it is a wonderful place by their accounts.
 

Kondoru

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Id love to go; its one of the few places I could be bothered to go to
 

rynner2

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Why don't people see the yeti any more?
By Candida Beveridge BBC World Service, Bhutan

Until recently it was common for people in Bhutan to share stories of their encounters with the Himalayan yeti. But with the arrival of modernity, villagers no longer need to climb high into the mountains, where they once saw traces of the yeti - or thought they did. So a legend is slowly fading away.

Perched on a mountainside surrounded by dense, virgin forest where tigers, snow leopards, and wild boar roam, is the remote village of Chendebji.
It's so isolated that up until seven years ago, before a hydroelectric plant was installed bringing electricity to the village, children here would only go to school for half an hour a day because no-one could afford to buy kerosene to light the classroom.
In the days before electricity, much of the day would be spent searching for firewood to light stoves and walking up into the high pastures to graze their yaks and goats.

While out on the slopes, the people of Chendebji would come across an unusual paw print that struck chill into their hearts.
"I was about nine years old and had gone high up in the mountains to collect dry leaves for the cattle," says Pem Dorji, a woman in her late 70s with a wrinkled face and a wide smile.
"That was soon after a heavy snowfall, which lasted for almost nine nights. The yeti must have come down, trying to escape the snow. I just saw the footprints the yeti left behind."
Sixty years later, Pem still remembers the fear that overcame her. "I couldn't stay there for a moment," she says. She ran nearly all the way home.

Children huddle around a pot-bellied stove, listening intently as Pem tells her story. Outside the large two-storey farmhouse, shadows fall across the valley as the evening turns to night. It is a village tradition, at this time of day, to share tales of the "Migoi" as the yeti is called here.
"When I returned home, my parents were quite disappointed to see me empty-handed. I explained that I saw the footprints of the yeti, which were very fresh, as if the yeti had walked past in the morning. I told them I was very scared."

Sitting beside Pem is a young boy, who is hanging on every word. Wide-eyed and excited, he asks if the prints could have been made by another type of wild animal. She shakes her head and goes on to reveal another remarkable detail.
"When I described the footprints to my father, he explained to me that yeti's feet are pointed towards the back, unlike the feet of humans," she says.
It's widely believed in Bhutan that the yeti walks backwards to fool trackers. Pem's version of the story is slightly different - the heel of the yeti's foot is at the front.

Another common belief is that the yeti cannot bend its body, a feature it is thought to share with evil spirits.
According to author Kunzang Choden, this explains why most traditional Bhutanese homes have small doorways. In her book, Bhutanese Tales of the Yeti, she describes how the raised threshold and lowered lintel force anyone who enters to lift their leg and bend their head.

etc...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-34448314
 

amyasleigh

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The journalist does not consider the possibility that setting aside a reserve for the yeti may be a metaphorical way of saying "setting aside a reserve for our natural environment, where unknown riches of biodiversity can thrive whether human beings know about them or not."

Which is what nature reserves are really about, in the long run.

There may also be a religious level which is obscure to Westerners, who long ago harnessed God to the capitalist cart and made him work for his living.
Also, post #5.

Citing the above posts from this -- fascinatingly -- revived thread; and finding it irresistible to add my favourite Bhutan / yeti-or-equivalent anecdote; from the book, likewise a great favourite of mine, Carnivorous Nights by Margaret Mittelbach and Michael Crewdson -- an "aside" by the authors, in book essentially about another creature of mystery, the thylacine.

(Bhutanese name for yeti, rendered here as "Migo".) "A few years ago, we had met a Buddhist monk. He was from the Himalayan country of Bhutan. More than most countries, Bhutan is untouched by western influences. The king of Bhutan employs an official Migo hunter, and there is a national park dedicated to this animal's preservation. The Migo is better known to most people as the Abominable Snowman or Yeti. It's a cryptozoological creature -- a mystery animal -- meaning that people report seeing it... but there's no scientific evidence that it actually exists. We asked the monk if the Migo was real. He said of course it was real, as real as anything. It simply didn't exist in our reality."

Maybe, at that, the monastic gent was onto something...
 

lordmongrove

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Why don't people see the yeti any more?
By Candida Beveridge BBC World Service, Bhutan

Until recently it was common for people in Bhutan to share stories of their encounters with the Himalayan yeti. But with the arrival of modernity, villagers no longer need to climb high into the mountains, where they once saw traces of the yeti - or thought they did. So a legend is slowly fading away.

Perched on a mountainside surrounded by dense, virgin forest where tigers, snow leopards, and wild boar roam, is the remote village of Chendebji.
It's so isolated that up until seven years ago, before a hydroelectric plant was installed bringing electricity to the village, children here would only go to school for half an hour a day because no-one could afford to buy kerosene to light the classroom.
In the days before electricity, much of the day would be spent searching for firewood to light stoves and walking up into the high pastures to graze their yaks and goats.

While out on the slopes, the people of Chendebji would come across an unusual paw print that struck chill into their hearts.
"I was about nine years old and had gone high up in the mountains to collect dry leaves for the cattle," says Pem Dorji, a woman in her late 70s with a wrinkled face and a wide smile.
"That was soon after a heavy snowfall, which lasted for almost nine nights. The yeti must have come down, trying to escape the snow. I just saw the footprints the yeti left behind."
Sixty years later, Pem still remembers the fear that overcame her. "I couldn't stay there for a moment," she says. She ran nearly all the way home.

Children huddle around a pot-bellied stove, listening intently as Pem tells her story. Outside the large two-storey farmhouse, shadows fall across the valley as the evening turns to night. It is a village tradition, at this time of day, to share tales of the "Migoi" as the yeti is called here.
"When I returned home, my parents were quite disappointed to see me empty-handed. I explained that I saw the footprints of the yeti, which were very fresh, as if the yeti had walked past in the morning. I told them I was very scared."

Sitting beside Pem is a young boy, who is hanging on every word. Wide-eyed and excited, he asks if the prints could have been made by another type of wild animal. She shakes her head and goes on to reveal another remarkable detail.
"When I described the footprints to my father, he explained to me that yeti's feet are pointed towards the back, unlike the feet of humans," she says.
It's widely believed in Bhutan that the yeti walks backwards to fool trackers. Pem's version of the story is slightly different - the heel of the yeti's foot is at the front.

Another common belief is that the yeti cannot bend its body, a feature it is thought to share with evil spirits.
According to author Kunzang Choden, this explains why most traditional Bhutanese homes have small doorways. In her book, Bhutanese Tales of the Yeti, she describes how the raised threshold and lowered lintel force anyone who enters to lift their leg and bend their head.

etc...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-34448314
They do still see it. There were recent sightings in the Garo Hills when I was there.
 

amyasleigh

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I like that amyasleigh - it makes uncommon sense.
One does feel that as regards certain cryptids, anyway: the least-unlikely scenario may lie somewhere between the extremes of "it's a fully-flesh-and-blood species, elusive and not yet discovered or scientifically catalogued"; and, "it has no physical existence at all, it is only and solely -- in various ways -- within people's heads".
 

Mungoman

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One does feel that as regards certain cryptids, anyway: the least-unlikely scenario may lie somewhere between the extremes of "it's a fully-flesh-and-blood species, elusive and not yet discovered or scientifically catalogued"; and, "it has no physical existence at all, it is only and solely -- in various ways -- within people's heads".

Not in peoples heads, as in - it could only be in that person's head - you know how much of a space cadet they are, but not in our reality.

I reckon that there are multitudes of realities paralleling this reality of ours (consider Autism at the extreme end of the spectrum for one, as being a reality), and that our personal vibration, at times, lends us the key to those specific gateways.

If we, due to brain chemistry, can influence our perception and see into those realities, just imagine if our bodies wavelength could be altered, on our physical reality, where could we go, and vice versa.

Just as in quantum physics, their laws are different to the more gross physics of this macro-universe, maybe each reality has its own presentation of form, which might be different to ours, therefore explaining the various forms that some of us sometimes see...sometimes.
 
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