Posted by: John Kirk on April 19th, 2006
The Dodu: Man Beast of Cameroon – Africa’s Own Sasquatch Part III
While on a Mokele-mbembe safari in Cameroon in 2001, myself, Rob Mullin, Scott Norman and Bill Gibbons took time off from looking for Mokele-mbembe to enquire about a local man beast known as the Dodu.
One afternoon as we stood on the shores of a Cameroonian river just a few kilometres from the border with the Republic of Congo, we were surprised by the reaction of a group of Bantus who had looked at a picture of a Kalenoro from the island of Madagascar as featured in Loren Coleman’s The Field Guide to Yeti, Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates Worldwide. They had shown a great deal of fear in their reaction to the image and those of us on the Cryptosafari/BCSCC team took the opportunity to question them vigorously about what they knew about this mystery primate.
A tall youth by the name of Samuel spoke fluent French so he was able to tell me what he and the other locals knew of this animal. He confirmed what the pygmies had earlier told us about the viciousness of the animal and warned us to avoid it at all costs. I asked him if it was a type of gorilla, Samuel said it was not and that it did not like gorillas and chimpanzees in its territory. I asked him how a little animal that stands a metre tall could be strong enough to kill a gorilla with its bare three-digit hands, Samuel replied the Dodu was definitely not a mere metre in height but was at least twice that and around my own height of six feet five inches or 1.99 metres.
When questioned about whether he had ever seen a Dodu himself, Samuel told us he had indeed seen one with his own eyes and it was just the summer previously at that. The circumstances surrounding the sighting were as follows:
A group of European hunters had emerged from the bush to the west of the village to the east of our campsite. They brought with them a strange living creature which appeared to be half-man, half beast. The creature was alive and several porters carried it with a pole, its hands and feet tied in crisscross fashion as you would see a leopard or lion that has been shot would be carried.
Samuel told us that pretty much the entire population of the village, who were in the area that day, came out to see it in the local square. He estimated that perhaps four thousand people saw the creature. It was hair covered and rather unfriendly. Samuel was unable to tell us how the hunters captured the beast other than he had heard they did so while stalking other prey. Fortuitously enough, they came across this thing and the next thing you know is they decide to parade it through the largest nearby settlement.
What became of the Dodu no one knows, but Samuel’s story echoes one that Bill Gibbons heard on his first excursion to Cameroon. A pygmy elder has related that a number of years ago a Dodu had been killed and a Frenchman working for one of the timber companies in the country had bought the carcass and taken the thing back with him to his logging camp. No one knows what the Frenchman did with the corpse and it may yet still be somewhere in Cameroon.
Samuel did not know either what became of the live Dodu captured in the summer of 2000. Perhaps it is in the hands of Europeans in a remote logging camp, perhaps alive, perhaps dead. Then again, they might have taken pity on the creature Samuel said had pathetic eyes and wailed when it was carried around hanging from that accursed pole and set it free to once again roam the eternal forests of Cameroon.
One thing that is for sure is that when my colleagues and I return to Africa in search of Mokele-mbembe, we will also certainly seek the Dodu once more, and if we find it, we will not run, but shall take careful aim and then calmly shoot it …… With a camera, that is.
One of the founders of the BCSCC, John Kirk has enjoyed a varied and exciting career path. Both a print and broadcast journalist, John Kirk has in recent years been at the forefront of much of the BCSCC’s expeditions, investigations and publishing. John has been particularly interested in the phenomenon of unknown aquatic cryptids around the world and is the author of In the Domain of the Lake Monsters (Key Porter Books, 1998). In addition to his interest in freshwater cryptids, John has been keenly interested in investigating the possible existence of sasquatch and other bipedal hominids of the world, and in particular, the Yeren of China. John is also chairman of the Crypto Safari organization, which specializes in sending teams of investigators to remote parts of the world to search for animals as yet unidentified by science. John travelled with a Crypto Safari team to Cameroon and northern Republic of Congo to interview witnesses among the Baka pygmies and Bantu bushmen who have sighted a large unknown animal that bears more than a superficial resemblance to a dinosaur. Since 1996, John Kirk has been editor and publisher of the BCSCC Quarterly which is the flagship publication of the BCSCC. In demand at conferences, seminars, lectures and on television and radio programs, John has spoken all over North America and has appeared in programs on NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, TLC, Discovery, CBC, CTV and the BBC. In his personal life John spends much time studying the histories of Scottish Clans and is himself the president of the Clan Kirk Society. John is also an avid soccer enthusiast and player.