Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 22nd, 2006
Who is trying to sell you on Nepalese non-protection and jumping on the Johor juggernaut? More adventures in forgetting history and spinning the media are in store for you today.
You have to ask yourself, how long was it going to take before some official body in Malaysia declared their local version of the Bigfoot protected? How can humans protect an animal species before it is known to exist? Yes, these are all trick questions. Humans do things because they want to. Humans apparently think they can do anything they want to do. And one Bigfoot group’s media spin can be to declare another’s spin merely media spin. Let the games begin.
In Malaysia, the breaking news on April 22, 2006, from the New Straits Times is that “the Johor Government has announced total protection for the Bigfoot, as a State heritage, which cannot be injured, captured, transported out of the State or killed.”
Additionally, the Johor-based media is reporting that this action “has won the praise of the American based Bigfoot Research Organisation (BFRO).” The BFRO, as we all know from breaking news noted here, is under a dark cloud because it is set to be exposed by Showtime’s Penn & Teller program on April 24th for backing the Sonoma fake Bigfoot footage. The BFRO is badly in need of some good publicity. The BFRO has apparently decided to tie their cart to the Johor Bigfoot bandwagon. But the BFRO has proven again that they cannot even get their facts correct on this one either. Will today’s Cryptomundo exposé cause more website revisions by day’s end? We hope so.
According to press reports out of Malaysia, the BFRO’s website is being quoted as stating: “The proactive step by Johor to declare the Bigfoot totally protected has disproved the assumption that no government would ever declare the species protected until at least one specimen was obtained by a hunter. Given the rarity of the species, it would have been a sadly ironic event if the world’s first declaration of protection would have required the death of one of these rare animals.”
TheNew Straits Times quotes directly from the BFRO website as being factual information, relying on BFRO’s reading of the protection situation by the governments of Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, India, China, Russia, America and Canada. We declare that BFRO is incorrect.
The BFRO website feebly attempts to split hairs and declares:
The only previous law enacted that prohibits the killing of Bigfoot is the 1969 ordinance in Skamania County, Washington (USA). This law makes punishable the killing of a Bigfoot in Skamania County, but it does not declare Bigfoot a “protected species”.
There is an important distinction between prohibiting the killing of an animal species, and classifying a known or purported species as protected or endangered. Skamania County probably would have given Bigfoot protected or endangered species status if they could have, but a county jurisdiction does not have the authority to do this. Only a state, or the federal government, has that authority, under American law.
The BFRO disputes, for example, that Nepal and Bhutan have protected their animals known as the Yeti in the past, declaring significance only to the current Johor press releases instead. The BFRO states for Nepal, for example, “there are no modern sources indicating that Nepal actually has a law protecting Yetis as real animals. It is possible that Nepal may have had such a law in the past, but it is doubtful….It may be that the Nepalese merely had a protective attitude toward Yeti figure, but that is very different than officially declaring the species to be protected under a modern system of codified laws.”
They are absolutely wrong, but more on that in a minute.
The BFRO, speaking of the Bigfootlike animals recently reported in Johor, notes that Malaysia “is the only country that officially regards them as real animals.” The BFRO writes that the recent announcement “declares that Bigfoot are now a ‘totally protected species’ in the state of Johor. The declaration does not create a new law, but it does not need to create a new law. There are already laws in Malaysia dealing with protected or endangered species.”
Okay, let’s see, first “codified laws” are the litmus test, and now they aren’t?
So what the BFRO appears to be saying is that the State of Johor’s “announcement” (even though it is not a law) is more important that Nepal, Bhutan, and other locations’ acts, protections, laws, and more, because, well, the BFRO says so?
The discussion in the New Straits Times clearly follows the BFRO party line, without any critical assessment of the BFRO’s logic.
While Cryptomundo congratulates the State government of Johor for declaring they have protected their Bigfoot, all of us must consider whether the spin that BFRO is putting on the “protection” is merely the BFRO’s alone.
Johor is a State government, not a National government. No new laws were passed. No protection beyond what would happen if any new unknown species of primate is discovered in Johor appears to be what is occurring.
This discussion of protection of cryptids is frequent within cryptozoology, and, for example, can be found here.
To summarize, once again, the following must not be ignored: In 1969, Skamania County, Washington, did pass an ordinance that would have imposed a fine of $10,000 and a 5-year jail term on anyone who killed a Bigfoot. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers listed Bigfoot as one of the native species in its Environmental Atlas for Washington. The California Department of Fish and Game issued a memo, addressing call blasting, calling it wildlife harassment. For over a couple decades, in British Columbia, Canada, the wildlife act has contained protection for any previously unknown species dwelling in Lake Okanagan (e.g. Ogopogo) and any previously undiscovered primate (e.g. Sasquatch) as well. CITES retains protection for the Thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus) covered under appendix one.
While the BFRO declares it is only (someone else’s) “media spin,” it is clear that in 2005, a Bhutan habitat was recognized as specially created to protect the habitat of the Yeti. In May, 2005, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation made a $700,000 grant to a World Wildlife Fund program to protect the rainforests in the Himalayan nation of Bhutan specifically within the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary, which was explicitly created to protect Bhutan’s Yeti, called migoi. The Migoi are said to be about 5 feet tall, covered with hair except on their faces, smell horrible, and leave two footprints, according to the Environmental News Service dispatch.
In 1961, the government of Nepal officially declared the Yeti its national symbol. The goal was not to prove or disprove the existence of these creatures, but rather to explore the Yeti as a symbol for conserving the natural world.
Let’s review, once again, exactly what the BFRO says about the Yeti and Nepal:
But as far as we can tell, there are no modern sources indicating that Nepal actually has a law protecting Yetis as real animals. It is possible that Nepal may have had such a law in the past, but it is doubtful. If there had been such a law in the past, it would still be a law. It would not have expired somehow in the 1950’s. It may be that the Nepalese merely had a protective attitude toward Yeti figure, but that is very different than officially declaring the species to be protected under a modern system of codified laws.
The BFRO is completely wrong regarding the protection of the Yeti in Nepal. On March 18 and 19, 1957, the Nepalese government passed a new law that forbade all foreign mountaineers from killing, injuring, or capturing a Yeti, as I have documented in both the 1989 and 2002 editions of my book on Tom Slick.
Why is the BFRO struggling so badly these days? The BFRO remains in the dark, once again.
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.