Sasquatch Coffee


Camera Traps and Bigfoot

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on October 14th, 2011

If camera traps don’t prove existence of Bigfoot or Yeti nothing will
Commentary by: Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com

Let me state for the record that I am skeptical of the existence of Bigfoot or the Yeti, however I do have a fascination for following the latest news on the seemingly never-ending search for these hidden hominids. This week a Yeti conference in Russia announced ‘indisputable proof’ of the legendary hairy ape in the wilds of Southern Siberia. What did this proof consist of? Not DNA, photographs, video, or the Yeti itself (dead or alive) as one would expect from the word ‘indisputable’, but a few alleged Yeti hairs, an alleged bed, and alleged footprints. Cryptozoologists, those who are fascinated by hidden species such as the proposed Yeti and Bigfoot, don’t serve their cause by stating the reality of a species without the evidence long-deemed necessary by scientific community to prove it—either a body or DNA samples combined with clear photographic evidence—instead they make themselves easy targets of scorn and ridicule. It’s true Sasquatch-believers have sometimes been deemed crackpots and crazies, but there are many well-respected researchers and naturalists who accept the possibility of Bigfoot, Yeti, or some as-yet-unnamed large primate, inhabiting the wilds of the world. Even such heavyweights as Jane Goodall and David Attenborough have said it’s certainly possible, and that evidence is ‘convincing’ if not yet ‘indisputable’.

While I’m more skeptical than Goodall and Attenborough, skepticism doesn’t mean I don’t accept that it is possible; the discovery of Homo floresiensis living until only 13,000 years ago and relatively recent discoveries of uncontacted tribes in the Amazon should make all of us take note. Still, the reason for my skepticism is simple. If a gorilla-sized primate (or bigger) roamed North America or Asia, it seems unlikely—though not impossible—that the species hasn’t already been discovered.

Every year around 18,000 new species are recorded on Earth by science and, certainly, some of these are mammals—just not big ones. New mammal discoveries are overwhelmingly rodents, bats, and other small creatures. There have been new primates discovered in recent decades, including new monkey species from Africa, Southeast Asia, and South America. But these are small monkeys, not apes, usually living in still under-explored regions such as the Amazon. Put another way, the last big mammal discovered was a 200 pound (90 kilogram) forest antelope; dubbed the saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) it was found in the deep mountainous rainforests of Vietnam and Laos in 1996. But Bigfoot enthusiasts estimate the weight of their cryptic beast at over 500 pounds! The last time such big land mammals were discovered—the okapi (Okapia johnstoni) and the mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei)—was in 1901 and 1902 respectively.

So, the question really becomes how long such a big terrestrial mammals really avoid the notice of science? Over the last century the global population has more than tripled, forests have been felled like never before, and even the most remote places have had scientists poking about. Today tourists have relatively easy access to parts of the Amazon and the central Asian forests, not to mention the forests of North America, so how could such a large animal avoid discovery? Cryptozoologists have a common response: they argue that these hominids are incredibly elusive and shy, which is why they have so long avoided detection. The primates are masters at avoiding humans, say believers. If we give cryptozoologists the benefit of the doubt on this, we have a new ubiquitous tool—the camera trap—that can provide verifiable proof of a species without a human ever having to get close to it: one way or another this will be key to ending the Yeti-Sasquatch-debate.

Camera traps are automated digital cameras that take a flash photo whenever an animal triggers an infrared sensor. While such traps have been used by researchers and wildlife enthusiasts for decades, the rise of digital photography and the decreasing cost of the technology has created an explosion of camera trapping. Camera traps can be left in the wildest places for months, simply snapping whatever wanders by. The devices are increasingly being used to document animals seen so rarely by humans they have become almost mythical, such as the giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus) in Brazil, the short-eared dog (Atelocynus microtis) in Ecuador, the pygmy hippo (Choeropsis liberiensis) in Liberia, and the African golden cat (Profelis aurata) in Gabon. Camera traps have also consistently photographed species on the edge of extinction, like the Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) and the Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis). Scientists have even discovered new species to science with nothing more than a camera trap: the Annamite striped rabbit (Nesolagus timminsi) of Southeast Asia and the Grey-faced sengi (Rhynchocyon udzungwensis) from Tanzania.

So, why have camera traps not documented a seven-foot-tall primate? Two logical responses: either these species don’t exist or camera trapping has been sparse in the regions they roam. Some might try to argue that Bigfoot has learned to avoid camera traps, but this goes beyond hard to believe: human poachers, who would like to avoid detection and are intuitive enough to sneak up on a tiger or a deer, are often photographed dumb-faced by camera traps. Unless Bigfoot has a skill-set that allows it to pinpoint a camouflaged small hunk of metal and avoid an infrared sensor, it would get caught on camera. Yet, to date there are no indisputable photos of a camera-trapped Bigfoot. This isn’t to say possible photographs haven’t been taken, but these are often readily disputable, with vague shapes more likely a bear or a human—perhaps a hoaxer—than a Bigfoot. I’ve seen camera trap images that have caught much smaller cryptic animals clear-as-day, so why not this purported hominid?

It’s possible, though again I’ll warn I’m skeptical, that luck just hasn’t been with camera trappers yet. Perhaps the Bigfoots and Yetis of the world, are so few in number and hide in such remote areas that they have avoided attention. This means that forests in the continental US are likely free of large-undiscovered-primates, since tens of thousands, perhaps millions, of camera trap photos from scientists, as well as backyard nature lovers, have been snapped, with no real evidence to date. Instead of the US, I’d put my money on the remotest wilds of Canada and the Himalayas.

It’s possible that a lesser known legendary primate could exist in the wilds of Sumatra. Known as the orang pendek this upright-walking hominid is described as significantly smaller than its North American and Asian cryptic cousins; it also inhabits a dense rainforest where the discovery of a new mammal is far more likely. However a recent four year camera trap effort by National Geographic ended in failure. Still if any unknown hominid does exist, and hasn’t yet gone extinct, bet that a good shot from a camera trap would be the first real evidence.

In the end even if, as I suspect, there is no Bigfoot, no Yeti to fill our dreams, there are still countless species—such as the Annamite striped rabbit and the short-eared dog, the Sumatran rhino and the pygmy hippo—that desperately deserve our attention. The world is full of more than enough wonders-of-life to keep us all busy and happy, if only we recognize them in time. My largest criticism of cryptozoologists is not that they insist on the existence of large undiscovered hominid species or lake sea monsters, but most consistently ignore the species we do know exist, the millions of species under threat by deforestation, habitat destruction, pollution, overexploitation, climate change, and innumerable other human impacts. If cryptozoologists spent as much time and energy working to save global biodiversity as they do analyzing Bigfoot evidence, the world would be a better and more wild place. If they truly love what is not yet known, cryptozoologists would be conservationists first. For, there will be no new discoveries, if the world’s ecosystems continue to be lost.

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster.


27 Responses to “Camera Traps and Bigfoot”

  1. DWA responds:

    Um, wow. Hard to figure out where to start here. But let’s just jump in.

    First: the author makes, once again, the tiresome mistake of lumping everyone who has ever written or said anything about cryptozoology into the category “cryptozoologist.” Focus on the ones who are saying things worth listening to, and dealing in testable evidence of which there is loads; toss the rest. This is what is done with any science. Do it here. Any other approach is intellectually lazy.

    Second: the slam against cryptos as lacking a conservation focus is even more intellectually lazy, and clearly smells of a bias against crypto. Red flag, and a very poor excuse for not considering the evidence. To add to which, and remember DWA told you this first: the discovery of hairy hominoids will be the biggest boost to land conservation in history. It is where MOST of the cards in conservation should be played now. If, that is, Jeremy, you are really concerned about conservation and not just using it as a smokescreen.

    Third: you gotta know where to put a camera trap. Know how long that took with the Bornean rhinoceros, a species whose existence and habits were known? TEN YEARS. Orang pendek, only FOUR? There’s your issue. No one is looking for cryptids with anything near the diligence required to confirm. Camera traps, it says here, will NOT get it done until sufficient time (read: money) is devoted to the search to figure out where they need to go. Don’t hold your breath.

    Fourth: you have more than the information you need to put camera traps everywhere they need to go, if the evidence is properly considered – read: not sneered at – by the scientific mainstream.

    Glad I could help. You don’t, however, need a single camera trap in this hunt. Although, sure, yeah, what the hell, they’ll help. But most species were confirmed without them. What you need is the dedication of time in the field by scientists whose reactions to evidence will have immediate mainstream credibility. Once the mainstream does that, we’ll get confirmation pretty quickly, if there is anything there to confirm.

  2. Richard888 responds:

    Good thing Evolution is not like Creationism. Otherwise, cryptozoology and conservationism would have been religions and the author, a missionary hoping to get cryptozoologists to convert – all for the salvation of the environment.

    Actually, cryptozoology CAN work as a form of conservationism without cryptozoologists having to abandon their regular activities.

    Imagine an area where logging takes place but where many Bigfoot sightings also take place. A lobby of cryptozoologists can be a powerful force in legislating that area as protected for example. Something like what Tod Standing is trying to do only with more credibility.

    Didn’t we read in a previous article that when Bigfoot are seen in Canada, that that area gets logged as quickly as possible because the discovery of Bigfoot will have a severe impact on the logging industry?

    Well, the reverse can also be true. Namely that cryptozoologists can stop logging or other industrial activities in areas where the creatures are seen. So conservationism needs cryptozoology more than cryptozoology conservationism.

  3. WDF916 responds:

    I thought the article was pretty interesting from a skeptical viewpoint. I forwarded the initial article to a friend who is also a fellow writer and basically had great points that I thought I’d share, word for word…

    “This article goes from one extreme to another. Is it about proving the existence of cryptids, or is it about conservation? First of all, Cryptozoologists are so few in number when compared to regular scientists that to assume that they would make a huge difference in conservation is ridiculous. Two, who says they’re against conservation? This is like asking why aren’t all scientists of all fields proponents for conservation. In short, THEY’RE DIFFERENT FIELDS.

    Until we post cameras or drones at all parts of the forest, then it’s crazy to assume that we’ve discovered all primates, large or otherwise. If a mountain man or trained ranger can hide in the forest for years, then why can’t an intelligent creature who actually lives in that environment? Oh, so how are we supposed to post cameras in the snowy Himalayas where there are no trees to post them on? Or posting cameras in the American mountains where there are illegal pot operations that are heavily guarded? Or in the tropics where the humidity messes up electronics? And how do you photograph something that doesn’t act in a pattern, particularly if it’s intelligent?

    Realistically, these humanoid creatures may not exist right now, but they did at one time (Gigantopithecus). We do need camera images or footage for proof. But it’s bad science to make a conclusion until all evidence has been turned in.”

  4. twoly responds:

    The other point is the he says: “Unless Bigfoot has a skill-set that allows it to pinpoint a camouflaged small hunk of metal and avoid an infrared sensor, it would get caught on camera”

    Dogs can see Infrared and can many animals can hear the high piched frequencies associated by electronics. Assuming that Bigfoot is more intelligent than most poachers it would not be “beyond hard to believe” that they have not been captured on these devices.

  5. DWA responds:

    Richard888:

    Good post, particularly about religion. There’s a clear subtext in this article: cryptozoology is a waste of time. Focus on conservation. Never mind how much the discovery of an umbrella species like a hairy hominoid would do for conservation. Jeremy makes the point for us: all those little Annamite pygmy whatever bitties he says humans should be concerned about, they aren’t. (Except, um, Jeremy, for Cryptomundo, which you obviously don’t visit much.) Simply by dropping their reflexive cynicism, and freeing scientists who do care to follow their noses (and Meldrum, Bindernagel, etc.) without risking their careers, mainstream science could strike the biggest blow for conservation that ever has been struck.

    Quick test: what could be bigger than confirming these animals? Clearly, nothing else. That’s why these habitats are disappearing. Cryptids may be the only card conservation has left to play.

    WDF916:

    Thanks for bringing your friend in. Sometimes crypto needs to pile on; the evidence, after all, is on their side.

    Twoly:

    Nice point. And now hear this, which I found on texasbigfoot.com:

  6. norman-uk responds:

    There is something about the possibility of relic hominids roaming the planet which brings out the fakers and the spoilers in many. But it should not be be beyond human wisdom to to make distinctions about what evidence seems to be valid and what isnt. There are lots good evidence out there of different kinds. The recent Russian conference is one that does not seemed to have produced any useful evidence and it is counter productive in that sense and need not figure in for or against discussions. It may be useful in other ways and I have a lot of respect for Proff Burtsov.

    Clearly a type specimen body is needed but I would argue is not essential to prove the existence of a yeti etc. DNA can do it and in the 21st century be the type specimen and maybe in the long term be of greater value. I see a change in the way DNA is now viewed by sceptics from it being useless without a type specimen, to in your case, ok with a good photos. What would give DNA strength is multiply sourced samples with the same DNA-like a 100 samples. Denosovan man was identified from a small bit of bone and more importantly DNA which produced a hugh amount of imformation. Could a small bit of bone be called a type specimen, no essentialy it is the DNA. There are DNA results for bigfoot etc but not really sorted out at this point. Lots are on the way!

    The way scientists have generaly dealt with bigfoot over the centuries suggests to me physical evidence has been found many timed but discounted. This is still going on for example the lack of respect given to eyewitness accounts and indeed the denial of the potential value of DNA without a traditional type specimen. Eyewitness accounts are an important resource and not noticed have in most areas been a fundamental part of scientific research.

    Cryptozoology doesnt just cover new animals but extinct animals refound or suspected of not being extinct. The writer confines himself to land animals but why not mention the plethora of new animals found in the sea, some hugh. Also why not bring in the Billi ape wih its strange untypical ape behavoir. Then there is the wood buffallo and the ice age peccary. The wood buffalo is the largest American animal. These examples may not quite fit a narrow definition of a new animal but I thing they make a valid point.

    There are still places on this planet where large or small new animals can hide. I saw a program recently about a canadian railway. It travelled north from the lakes area through forest for 2000 miles without crossing a road. When the forest as in africa is destroyed or scoured for bush meat I fear, like the Billi ape, new species will disappear without trace!

    Tempis fugit….more to come

  7. Cryptoz responds:

    I would not find it suprising if this person had even SEEN a camera trap. I own one, and sometimes its a pain in the butt. I live with woods in my backyard, and set it up there. When I first got it the thing was going off, but I couldn’t see anything in the picture, when I got anything at all. I bought a new camera and moved it farther into the woods, and started getting deer. I moved it even farther, and that time I got a bunch of animals: fox, coons, and more deer. The thing is, I had to leave it out for at least two weeks to get all that. I will also note that I am soon leaving for a Sasquatch expidition soon, and my trail cam is my prime tool, bait and all. So I am soon to put this camera inquiry to the test, and will make known what the results are.

  8. PhotoExpert responds:

    Well, I came here to post and everything I was going to say has already been stated by DWA and twoly! I have nothing to add for once! Excellent points made by these two posters!!!

  9. jstevens2154 responds:

    The jump from crytozoologist to conservationist is stupid.

    The point that a countless number of camera traps set around the world, which captures thousands upon thousands of animals including the most endangered, has not produced a definitive photo of bigfoot is 100 percent true. There is no disputing this..at all. Again, look up definitive or indisputable before responding with a watered down “if.”

    Bottom line=none of the thousands of camera traps around the world that capture millions of photos, even of the most endangered animals in the most remote parts of the world, have never definitively captured a bigfoot.

  10. DWA responds:

    jstevens2154:

    No disputing that fact about cameras.

    No disputing either that mainstream science hasn’t gotten involved in the discussion about how to place and conceal them, but left that to amateurs whose understanding, with exceptions, is sketchy at best.

    Read that link I put up in my last post and you’ll see that animals a lot dumber than sas are reputed to be are deliberately, to all appearances, avoiding cameras, for what would be logical reasons, for an animal that survival requires to know its territory well. The individuals that are being seen are results of population density and overflow transience that are likely not issues with hairy hominoids.

    Even with the endangered ones, scientists know where they are, and where they go, and how to track them.

    But not with some of them, the ones they don’t know.

  11. Ironwood responds:

    Although I retired from active bigfoot field research in 2007, I’d like to comment that it was long assumed that bigfoot can see in infrared. This would explain their avoidance of camera traps and people with night vision goggles. These devices, to them, would appear as someone shining a spotlight around in the dark would appear to us.

    Tape a bright flashlight to a tree and see if your friends can find it in the night woods without standing directly in its beam…

    Cameras triggered by ultrasonics (sonar) would fare no better. I spoke with many fellow researchers during my active period and was told repeatedly that (again) it was generally believed bigfoot has both a much higher and much lower range of sounds that it can detect as audible.

    Dogs see in infrared. Bumblebees see in ultraviolet. Bats navigate and hunt using ultrasonic sound. There are many examples in the animal kingdom where “critters” possess superhuman senses.

    Does this mean no camera trap could ever catch a bigfoot? No. I’ve long thought that a remote pressure switch connected to the camera’s shutter trigger could possibly work once the human scent was washed away by rain. I’m assuming bigfoot would notice a simple tripwire, but a shallowly buried wire attached to a pressure switch they could step on in a trail might go unnoticed.

    Just food for thought…

  12. greatanarch responds:

    Dogs can see in the infrared? I would like to see a reference to that. Besides, this would not matter for most cameras, which are purely passive devices responding to body heat. I doubt they could even see the LED flash, which in my cameras is at 860 nm; probably no visual pigment in mammals can respond to this. Likewise for the frequencies associated with electronics: this can only be for AC devices, not cameras which work purely on DC. Of course, there will be a brief current flow when the sensor triggers the flash, but by this time it is too late for the animal to avoid a photograph.

  13. Hapa responds:

    …without the evidence long-deemed necessary by the scientific community to prove it-either a body or DNA samples combined with clear photographic evidence…

    and…

    “Scientists have even discovered new species to science with nothing more than a camera trap: the Annamite striped rabbit…of southeast Asia and the Grey Faced Sengi from Tanzania.”

    Oh My Giddy Aunt!

    Sometimes, well heck I always wish that people would link or write the sources of their information in their writings. Discovered by camera trap? Really? Or DNA? Even if this was true (I’m going to try to find this info online. Wish me some good luck) we are not talking about something as no-controversial as a striped rabbit or a “Sengi”: we are talking about Sasquatch, 800 lbs and 10 feet tall mannish-ape! Scientists may accept the former critters without question (though maybe they shouldn’t, in thisage of photoshop, hoaxing and scientific fraud), they will not accept the latter, by and large, even if you have an elephant gun pointed to their heads. No scientist, nada, nein, none of the above, no scientist is going to count camera trap photos as proof/primary evidence, EVER, for Bigfoot’s existence, and though a “clear” camera trap photo has yet to be taken, there are several camera trap photos supposidly of Bigfoot out there. Unlike rabbits, people can fit into a realistic Bigfoot costume and make a pic look legit (wanna really fake a rabbit discovery? Either use some good new fashioned photoshop or ge a very small dwarf in a realistic rabbit suit. Try that latter one and see how it works for yah! HA!). Body, body, BODY, or parts thereof, is what is needed.

    Heck, we do have a clear video and subsequent pics form the Patterson/Gimlin film, arguably more clear than any supposed Sasquatch film or photo seen since, especially when you blow it up and enhance the creature. Only got less than low yield mild reaction from the powers that be.

  14. muircertach responds:

    So we have an undiscovered animal smart enough that it can evade a camera, unlike any other animal? Yet there remains no evidence of tool use, a society or even the use of fire? Now that is grasping at straws. There is no reason given modern technology and hunting methods than a body has yet to be produced. Frankly that is what it will take. Strange footprints and small tufts of hair (from such a large animal?) simply do not cut it.

  15. watn6789 responds:

    Lets all consider history of the animal kingdom and how man has interacted with them.

    Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    Genesis 9:3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

    Acts 11:4-7 Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story: 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was. 6 I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles and birds. 7 Then I heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’

    Giant sloth evidence suggests that people may have kept them as pets or more likely as food. People eat other large animals including bears… I’m not saying go and try and grill some bigfoot rather, let’s not get carried away with ideas of animals somehow ‘beyond’ our abilities. Etc

  16. Fred123 responds:

    They frequently throw rocks at people, they’re often seen standing beside highways and seem to be oblivious to the approach of vehicles like dirt bikes and ATV’s, they even peer into windows and actually break into house and yet they’re unusually elusive and shy? Try again.

  17. norman-uk responds:

    have been…cont

    While I understand the points Jeremy Hance is making about ‘no body’ there is a lot more to be said about why there is not or even part of one (exluding hair) is not apparently available. Some of this has already been stated above. I think that reasonable explanations for this lack could fill a book, but still leaves a percentage which is difficult to accept as explaining this shortcoming. Ditto photographic evidence, even though the Gimlin Patterson film is wonderful and is nearly there. There must be enough data in that film to get perfectly clear results from enhancements, I wonder why this hasnt been done, as a few years ago there was a press release of a hugh breakthrough in this technology (US military ? ).

    Getting back to DNA, for a moment IMO the logic for accepting DNA for proof of a new species is inevitable, Scientists stamping threre feet and saying NO will not be sufficient reason! At this time I doubt we have got to the point where DNA can be faked (though this will come) particularly where there is context like hair etc as in bigfoot. There is a bit of a hiatus in establishing bigfoot DNA momentarily. But this will surely resolve. One wishes the expertise, effort and finance was available so results could be achieved as have been at the Max Plank inst in Leipzig where Neanderthal DNA was sequenced with over 90% of the sample being corrupted. Then a small piece of bone from a the Russian cave identified as a new species, (Denesoven) from its DNA.

    How I see the Bigfoot scenario at the moment is as a hugh jigsaw puzzle in which a few bits are missing, but from what is there the picture can confidently be identified for those who care to look at the whole picture and not just the hole! If anyone guidance on this asked the experts and there are notable ones. This includes all the amazing new discoveries being made in paloeontology which meshes in with relics hominds. Heres one amazing item there is currently running the Malapa tissue project which is working what are beleive to be preserved tissues from 200,000 old afarensis sediba fossils which also includes amazingly virtualy complete skeletons! I look forward to something equally amazing via bigfoot research!

    ”So, the question is how long can such big terrestrial mammals really avoid the notice of science.”
    Not hard to answer, when then science looks out the window, because they are on the lawn! I think it is a fair generalisation that most bigfoot enquiry is done by amateurs and scientists ( with notable exceptions who work under a cloud, so to speak) criticise them for being unscientific! Something wrong here!

  18. jeremyhance responds:

    Hey everyone,

    Just wanted to send a thank you out to people who have commented. I’m the author of the article and I wanted to say that while I stand by the piece I have enjoyed your comments and criticisms. I am a fan of Cryptomundo and read it frequently.

    As I say in the article I am skeptical of the existence of Bigfoot, Yeti, etc. But that doesn’t mean I consider their existence to be impossible. Not at all. One can be skeptical, without being dogmatic.

    I do have a couple side notes to consider. Camera traps are exploding in use by researchers worldwide and have been hugely successful in capturing some of the world’s most elusive animals clearly on camera. And if Bigfoot is to be found I think camera traps will play a role, in the very least of convincing scientists that a large hominid is out there.

    If you want to learn more about camera traps you should check out this feed.

    This interview is also a good look at the potential of camera traps.

    Finally I stand by my last paragraph on cryptozoologists and conservation. I wholeheartedly agree that if Bigfoot is confirmed, it will hugely boost conservation efforts in whatever region it is discovered. However, what about the meantime? We live in an age of mass extinction, where the world’s ecosystems are undergoing catastrophic shifts due to our actions. If you accept the evidence that Bigfoot, or the Yeti, or the orang pendak are real, why not more discussion on how to preserve the ecosystems where they live? Why not more articles on conservation and environmental issues in Cryptomundo related to the environments of cryptids? Why not more articles on species on the edge of extinction? You may dismiss me as some haughty asshole–and that’s your right certainly–but I still think this is a fair criticism to consider.

    That said, I always look forward to new evidence of unknown species!

    All the best, Jeremy

    P.S. I have seen and worked with camera traps. They can be finicky sure, but they are splendid inventions. Here’s a great site of over 200,000 shots of animals around the world.

  19. Kopite responds:

    Not enough cameras. Not enough bigfoot.

    It’s as simple as that.

  20. norman-uk responds:

    Jeremy
    I have had a look at Mangaby and am impressed at the work you are doing in conservation. I suggest you are on the wrong side in the bigfoot debate. Shouldn’d you be conserving bigfoot in some way either by given moral or physical support ? For example I suspect bigfoot would thrive in second growth forest after logging. No one seems to have considered this and if so, the lumber industry might well be at least neutral about bigfoot rather than as it seems an active opponent. In addition with appropriate management many other creatures could get a permanent boast. Here you could help!

    To deny the reality of bigfoot you would need to deny every single bit of evidence there is throughout the ages as far back as written language goes. All the modern evidence, including every eyewitness report, however sensible the witness, every footcast however good the provenance and all and everything else supporting bigfoot and now DNA (admittedly not yet clear) an hair morphology.

    I think a real sceptic would and should on the evidence for, be sceptical about the non-existence of Sasquatch! Wont you join us ? (Catherine Weaver).

    PS I admire the work you are doing on consevation.

  21. Opalman responds:

    @ Jeremy Hance:

    Please don’t take this personally but this is about as unscientific essay as I’ve ever read— I say this because your well written essay is based on assumption and supposition and the only thing you back it up with is irrelevant comparison of other critter’s physiologies. If you had offered it as…say…a well considered personal opinion it would have been alot more palatable for this reader. I have been of the opinion that sasquatches will never be significantly documented with any camera trap currently on the market.

    But before I forget:

    @greatanarch: For a reference regarding dogs having night vision (and they do), see here and http://agilitynet.co.uk/health/caninevision_markplonsky.html.

    Many other refs are readily available on the web.

    Back to the post by Jeremy Hance:

    Firstly; anything we say about any prehistoric hominoid such as Homo floresiensis is total speculation. Science doesn’t know enough about these beings to fill a midget’s finger thimble. For this reason any comparison between ancient hominoids, modern man and sasquatch is meaningless. We do though have a wealth of anecdotal information regarding sasquatch. Some (perhaps you) consider anecdotal info as unreliable and totally speculative, but I maintain that when the same set of characteristics and habits are amassed into a huge body of reports that are in agreement with each other, then speculation becomes probability. ( A huge number of reports are in agreement, not all reports are in agreement.)

    Your descriptive comments regarding rain forests and human encroachment in general read as if written by someone who had not spent any time in these remote regions. I have flown east to west some 2000 miles to Equator, much of the trip at 3500-4500 feet AGL, over Brazil and marveled at the unbounded rain forest. Human habitation was rarely seen. Timber enterprises where seen only near some regions close to the Amazon and eastern coastal areas, and they were relatively small. (Numerous or large examples of supposedly rainforest destruction certainly eluded me, (Me thinks the greenies are trying to trix us!) I observed practically none relative to the immensity of the jungle.) Take a look on Google Earth and see for yourself…wheres all the smoke? While the Pacific Northwest is a different story: But still I observed innumerable huge areas from the comfort of a Cessna Caravan that could hide any creature, elusive or otherwise. I saw large tracts that I am sure human feet never touched. In your essay you wrote that; “even the most remote areas have scientists ‘poking about’ ”…not true at all. If you’ve ever scanned horizon to horizon from a high British Columbia ridge or mountaintop you will immediately know how the sasquatch could very well remain hidden forever. There’s a significant difference between seeing photos and descriptions of wilderness areas and actually standing there drinking it all in. Hiking or hunting even a minuscule bit of it will fill one with awe and wonder, its the kind of thing that stays fresh in one’s memory for a lifetime.

    Another of your main points is, that camera traps, due to their common utilization would have, by now, captured a high quality JPEG of a sasquatch if they existed. (my summation and paraphrase) This is a most egregious assumption and it could not stand in any court of logic. Besides, it is inaccurate.

    Your assumption regarding stealth-cams relies on the experience of others: perhaps writers, scientists as well as avid outdoorsmen—and the images captured of other non hominid mammals. Additionally you seem to discount the most logical reason why the sasquatch is able to evade. I refer here to the creature’s requisite sensory capability and skill-set

    I have been preaching for years as to the futileness of trying to get a good image of sasquatch with a digital trail camera. It aint gonna happen; excepting the few poor almost out of frame instances of extremely short duration. One such instance I’m referring to is Easton sponsored Fred Eichler’s well known trail cam video:

    I know Fred personally and I would unhesitatingly stake my life on his veracity. So you see with your own eyes something which unmistakably resembles a sasquatch being captured with a trailcam. My point is (lest you feel I’m contradicting myself), it’s the very, very rare situation indeed where a sasquatch could be captured with a digital trail cam. Again a immature, probably inexperienced example…but even so…it has been so captured! And so…any absolute statement regarding trail cams never producing even one sasquatch image is inaccurate to begin with.

    In further verbiage you site the example of poachers and other hunters being “intuitive enough to sneak up on a tiger or a deer, yet are often photographed dumb-faced by camera traps”.

    The two issues have noting to do with each other. Humans are not deer or tigers. Sasquatches are not ordinary mammals, we don’t yet understand them biologically.

    Additionally, and as a side note; I have never known or read of any hunter sneaking up on a tiger (Panthera tigris sp.) Like sasquatch in my opinion that’s practically impossible or worse yet—deadly. Tigers are hunted either from the back of an elephant (Elephas maximus indicus) or in a machan, (tree-stand). Attempting to bait and hunt a tiger on foot is considered suicide by any experienced maharaja. Even the world most respected and fearless hunter; Fred Bear: refused to hunt the cat except from a machan, (Treefortus horribilis).LOL.

    Returning to the issue being discussed; If anyone: hunter, poacher, belly dancer or whatever treks through the woods long enough; that individual human will get his visage captured providing that the area being trekked through has camera traps deployed. This statement only applies to people though. It does not apply to hyper-elusive and intelligent hominids or even elusive lower mammals. I have no small amount of personal experience with trailcams, I have used them preliminary to hunting, (since the second or third year they were on the market), and for scouting and reconnoitering whitetail deer (alt. Opalmaniacis supperyumus) (sorry…I’ll stop it now) and black bear trails and habitat. I personally own several. They are useful for determining game habits and population densities (often only telling me of and counting the various trigger events, yet often not capturing the animal’s image). They are unmatched for identifying human trespassers. Sometimes I do get a good JPEG of a good deer or bear. Almost without exception though, when I get a pic of a deer or bear it’s a young, inexperienced deer or bear—older specimens seem to be alerted to either the electronic whine of the ICs and related circuitry, or perhaps some latent odor. I can assure you that in the case of a mammal in possession of a tapetum lucidum, that animal can and does spot the infrared source found on all stealth cams.

    Whatever the clue most trailcam pics of large animals show them starring directly into the lens. Old, mature whitetail bucks are almost never photograped with trail cams, (at least not mine).

    Understand that exceptional racks on deer are usually the result of scientific forage management (forest forage plots) created by hunters during the summer and not the animal’s age. I’ve personally witnessed huge racks on two and three year olds. These are the deer that appear on the camera’s media card. Most experienced hunters seeking meaningful quarry remove the camera traps from the vicinity well before hunting the area, because big, trophy deer are old for a good reason. Ditto for bear. Assuming that a sasquatch has the tapetum lucidum, and according to almost every anecdotal, nighttime sighting, they do; we can be assured that the sasquatch can see the glow of an infrared source quite easily. The argument that a flashlight is only visible from a vantage point directly in front of its beam is of no relevance. The characteristics of the two (infrared diodes ‘LED’s’ and incandescent light) are uniquely different and the infrared source is more a soft glow that is easily diffused and absorbed by materials adjacent to it. Rocks, moss, vegetation, tree bark etc. nearby will glow faintly even when viewed from a relative angle of 180 degrees.

    To summarize all this: Camera traps are not the super wildlife spies they are often thought to be; not even for species of lesser capability. I say this having many years of trail cam experience in the bush. In spite of this fact I know of at least one extremely probable example of a sasquatch being photographed with one. (see above)

    I think one logical deduction can be made in light of the overwhelming film, footprint, hair and anecdotal evidence available. That is: Indeed sasquatch has the requisite skill sets to elude detection and recording. This fact is self-evident given the assumption that the creature exists. If the creature does not exist all we have is a nonsensical null argument. IMO; evolution has assured the species of common and uncommon, often poorly understood abilities that assure the creatures continued existence. Such abilities are self evident if one considers the existence of the creature as a possible reality, (if the creature exists then it is safe to assume these capabilities). This is why and how a relic or even an adapted relic species remains extant in our world. To say otherwise is circular reasoning. All sorts of theories can be advanced as to why we haven’t a type specimen but these considerations are assumptive and speculative at best since a negative cannot be proven logically.

    I think we agree that if this creature exists it is paramount that we employ every conservation principal and protocol to assure its continued viability as a species.

    To that end let’s agree and assure that our published opinions are founded on scientific reason and sound logic. We give the sasquatches primary enemy, (the unstudied naysayers); those who would neglect or destroy his necessary environment, much fodder when we arrive at presumptions of the creatures non-existence through faulty reasoning.

  22. DWA responds:

    “Finally I stand by my last paragraph on cryptozoologists and conservation.”

    Well, Jeremy, you shouldn’t. It shows something weird that I frequently see in skeptics on this topic, and I can’t understand it except by calling it a kind of bitterness that one can’t see one’s own way to open-mindedness, and is stuck in blind cynicism.

    Or something.

    This sentence was bizarre:

    “If cryptozoologists spent as much time and energy working to save global biodiversity as they do analyzing Bigfoot evidence, the world would be a better and more wild place.”

    That is flatly saying “Bigfoot isn’t real, so stop this nonsense and do something serious.”

    Amateurs are spending all this time on the topic BECAUSE SCIENCE WON’T. Hairy hominoids stand alone as the only phenomenon backed by this much testable evidence that science has not already acknowledged as real. This ignorance will one day, I predict, be seen as one of science’s biggest failures. And there is not a single rational reason for it. As uk-norman notes: any true skeptic (like, say, me) would be skeptical of the NONexistence of the sasquatch.

    Go slam all the people digging up yet another penny-ante mouse lemur or “new” dinosaur that I could have told you they’d find…and ignoring the mountain of evidence for something that could put millions of acres under conservation protection at a stroke. THEY’RE the problem.

    (And beware your response, lest it mark you ignorant of the evidence. As I have found every scientist with a negative opinion on this topic to do within moments of putting fingers to keyboard.)

  23. DWA responds:

    Opalman: good post, particularly about how humans are [NOT!] poking about everywhere.

    Um, no we aren’t. Our explorations are like blind men surrounding an elephant: oh, here’s another wrinkle! Here’s another Last Lost World. Here’s yet another [your country here] Serengeti! Here’s another two million unexplored hectares. (On a smallish island, that was!) Here’s a couple thousand orangutans (Borneo) and herds of millions of animals (Sudan) and 175,000 gorillas (Central Africa) that we didn’t know about! I’m losing track of how much Eden there is.

    And I have been many, many places in my ordinary life as a hiker and backpacker that may not see a person pass within eyesight in a year.

    There’s lots out there.

  24. lordoftheonionrings responds:

    “There have been new primates discovered in recent decades, including new monkey species from Africa, Southeast Asia, and South America. But these are small monkeys, not apes”

    What about the Bili Ape?

    Also I think one of the main things people fail to think of with camera traps is scent detection. If you leave human scent all over the camera your chances will significantly decrease of finding an intelligent primate if it has a decent sense of smell. That’s why I spray all my trail cams after I put them up. Also mega-fauna like a bigfoot would have to have a significant territory, it would prove to be quite difficult to be in the right place at the right time with a device that might cover 30 square feet.

  25. Opalman responds:

    @ greatanarch

    I missed most of your statements regarding camera traps in my previous posts. The points you make are blatantly incorrect. I find no joy in going around telling folks that they are wrong—but in these instances it is important that other people engaged in the cryptozoological field and especially people interested in sasquatch are not misinformed.

    Today’s digital cameras are not passive devices.
    No commercially available camera trap is equipped to detect and/ or record passive radiation. Passive, (heat detecting) technology is available though. Passive devices would be the remedy, (and are in fact used by some researchers like the BFRO), to the infrared visibility problem. New, passive, thermal imaging systems generally start at $3500.US: (pretty much useless for our purposes), and go up to near $100,000. US. The typical portable device with recordable output that lend itself well for our research sells for around $7900.-$24000. US. The, (IMHO), best for our use as BF spotters / researchers would be the Extech® FLIR T620, available at Grainger’s for $20,882.00US.

    The camera flash unit on your or any other digital camera is not an LED. It is a HV xenon flash bulb. The capacitive discharge circuitry which provides the B+ and trigger voltage for that element is what causes the unit to emit a squeal (now a days not usually audible to human hearing), when charging. The circuitry is modulated square and sawtooth wave and is considered alternating current, (AC) not DC, by definition. Again the current flow is what charges the system not the triggering voltage.

    You state that the flash on your camera is operating at 860nm (nanometers). This is far infrared and is not visible to the human eye so why have a flash with an operating parameter in that region of the spectrum? Human vision capabilities lie between 390-720 nm. See: who round it off to 400-700nm.

    You are likely referring to the IR autofocus beam wavelength which operates near that wavelength.

    So-everything you have stated about the subject is pure misinformation.

    Look…I’m really a nice guy. As stated above; I take no joy in correcting people. But I’m really sick of reading so much misunderstood crap on this (and other) sites, expounded upon by people who want to sound impressive in knowledge but…seemingly are too lazy to even read.

    From now on whenever I read bogus crap, maybe I’ll post corrections, self-aggrandizing poster beware…if you state something ex facto please be able to provide citations or refs. I’m no moderator here, for certain…but I think if we would all police ourselves on this issue, the site and the field would greatly benefit. I expect and welcome the same treatment.

    Lets all think before we post (including me). Are we really certain of what were writing about? If not, look it up. I started to provide you with citations for each correction above, but I’m too busy…you can look it up yourself.
    Peace.

  26. Opalman responds:

    To clarify one point: your camera is not a passive device because it employs an autofocus beam, (rangefinder).
    If some trail-cam doesn’t employ an autofocus feature it may be considered a passive device. I know of none.

  27. eyeofstrm responds:

    Am I the only one who has researched the Bili Ape (giant chimpanzees, stand over 6ft. tall and kills lions) It was proven to exist in 2005. Known as elusive this ape is not shy or afraid of humans yet it was considered only a myth until 2005. Now picture that same chimp as shy and wanting nothing to do with humans, hiding in the woods when humans approach, not to hard. The Bengal Tiger (the largest cat in the world) has no problem blending its large orange colored body in the woods without trying. But a large intelligent shy primate could never intentionally hide its large (brown, black or auburn) colored body in a forest that is dominated by these colors



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