Posted by: Loren Coleman on November 17th, 2007
Or does he?
As often happens after a clear, concise sighting of something remarkable that then cannot easily be captured, a state or government authority, contrary to local officials, is quoted by the media in an attempt to “explain away” the reports.
Charles Fort called this the “Wipe,” for it was a frequent technique for disposing of the uncomfortable reality of the data that would not disappear. It often was the media trying to move on from the story, as much as the quoted “expert.”
In the recent case from Florida, those that reported the “orange or red ape” in a tree did not say it was a Bigfoot or a Skunk Ape, but merely it looked like an ape, perhaps an orangutan.
Let’s break this down, very precisely.
The eyewitnesses included a couple men, one Rock Rohden who was interviewed with his family later by the media. These men first contacted officials; the media showed up a few days later.
Let us not forget this was a confirmed sighting. On November 2, 2007, these two men called Baker County animal control to report seeing what appeared to be a large ape in a tree off Harry Rewis Road, north of Macclenny, Florida.
After the men called, Tina Thomas, an animal control officer in Baker County, responded. She was skeptical.
“We got this call and this man said, ‘You are just not going to believe this and I’m not crazy.’ I said, ‘What is it? We’ve heard a lot of things.’ He said, ‘I have a monkey in my tree.'” Thomas said. “I thought the man was on drugs. I said, ‘Are you sure?’ He was like, ‘I’m telling you I’m not on drugs and I ain’t been drinking.'”
When animal control officer Tina Thomas got to the scene, she saw the animal and realized the caller was right. She confirmed seeing a “big red fur ball” — apparently an ape — sitting in a tree. She said she saw an orange-colored ape sitting in a tree that was “much larger than a spider monkey.”
“I wouldn’t have believed it, but I saw it with my own eyes,” she said.
Not equipped with the proper training to handle such an exotic animal, Thomas said she immediately called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission to send an officer out.
“We got the binoculars and could see the whole body of the ape. He was red with a lighter color face,” Thomas said.
About 100 feet up in a tree, the ape fit the description of an orangutan. She said the ape was about 50 pounds, 3 or 4 feet tall and was curled up, nesting in a pile of leaves.
Now, faced with not being able to find or capture the animal, later in the week, what is the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission saying it was? A squirrel.
If one of the reasons (see below) for “explaining away” this “red ape” is because it is nocturnal, then why did Fish and Wildlife’s Ken Holmes (see below) pick a diurnal fox squirrel (Sciurus niger)? Flying squirrels are nocturnal, fox squirrels are diurnal.
One last footnote: Yes, while primates generally are diurnal, intriguingly, within cryptozoology, there is one large reddish primate that is nocturnal and reported from Florida ~ the anthropoid Skunk Apes.
Sorry, I just had to bring that up, and I wonder, therefore, was Ken Holmes misquoted in the following article about the red ape = fox squirrel? This might be a real possibility, since it was Holmes who said he was called by a “Bigfoot researcher” who wanted to convince Holmes there are reports of “juvenile Bigfoots” in Florida. Holmes said he answered all of that “Bigfooter’s” questions but it was Holmes that “almost wanted to correct him that the proper term in Florida is ‘Skunk Apes.’ ”
Perhaps there is more to this story than meets the eye?
Here’s the article:
Stories of an orange, furry animal in the woods of Baker County eating up jelly doughnuts and resembling an orangutan – and mythbusters forbid, even Bigfoot – spread like wildfire as media got a hold of the tale.
Turns out all the hoopla was probably about an orange phase fox squirrel, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced Friday.
Fish and Wildlife investigator Ken Holmes said the creature is not behaving like a primate, especially with its nocturnal activity.
“I’m not discounting anything. However, this creature, whatever it may be, simply isn’t acting like a primate,” Holmes said in a statement.
On Oct. 30, Holmes said he got a call about the mystery animal stealing the sweet snacks from a bear hunter who lives near Macclenny. Holmes looked into the tall pine tree and saw something 100 feet up moving around but couldn’t confirm if it was an ape, squirrel, monkey, raccoon or even a cat.
So Holmes decided to lay doughnuts at the base of the tree to lure the creature out. The animal left but wasn’t seen or captured.
From the way he was eating the doughnuts, Holmes said it probably wasn’t an ape.
“Orangutans are messy eaters. If the animal were an orangutan, you would expect to find pieces of donuts or fruit scattered all over the place, rather than just neatly nibbled,” Holmes said.
Holmes said it’s very unlikely someone in the area owned an orangutan, which requires a commercial permit in Florida. He said he’s seen a lot of unusual animals owned in captivity such as tigers and chimpanzees, but orangutans are expensive to own.
“I’ll be astonished if it’s an orangutan. I can quite confidently say it’s probably not an orangutan,” he said.
Earlier this month, Baker County Animal Control received a report of two men seeing an ape in a tree off Harry Rewis Road in Macclenny, Parker said.
Tina Thomas, an animal control officer in Baker County, said she saw an orange-colored ape sitting in a tree that was “much larger than a spider monkey.”
A Bigfoot research commission also called Holmes to ask about the creature.
Holmes told the Times-Union Friday afternoon that it’s interesting how these rumors get started. He said once a woman called him about a full African lion – mane and all – in her bushes. Turns out it was a chow dog.
“I told her I guess I could see that at 1 in the morning it’s pretty dark and you could make a mistake,” he said.
Holmes said he doesn’t want to say anyone is lying but “the mind can play tricks on you” and animals can look like a lot of different things depending on the viewpoint. ~ by Adam Aasen, “Mystery creature in Baker County not monkey or Bigfoot – likely just a squirrel,” The Times-Union, Jacksonville, Florida, November 16, 2007.
Thanks to Chad Arment for the indicator about this item.
(While it is still online, see the New 4 video report with the interview with Rohden and Thomas, click here.)
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.