Bili Ape Update

Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 29th, 2006


An earlier Bili or Bondo Ape foot cast from an information-gathering trek of cryptozoologist Karl Ammann.

Bili Ape

There’s breaking news from a recent exploration to collect data on the Bili Ape:

Mystery apes of central Africa are chubby chimps (AFP) 28 June 2006 PARIS – A tribe of apes living in remote forests in the northern Democratic Republic of Congo are unusually large chimpanzees, not a new species of giant ape or a chimp-gorilla hybrid, New Scientist says. Zoologists became excited after people living around Bili, a town about 200 kilometres (120 miles) east of the Ebola River, recounted tales of seeing huge ferocious apes with a taste for killing lions. From photographs, the creatures were estimated to weigh about 100 kilos (220 pounds) and their footprints, at up to 34 centimetres (13.6 inches), were longer than a gorilla’s. But a year-long hunt by Cleve Hicks and colleagues from the University of Amsterdam shows there is only a “negligible” chance that the enigmatic apes are a new branch of the primate tree. Hicks were able to observe the animals for a total of 20 hours. “I see nothing gorilla about them. The females definitely have a chimp’s sex swellings, they pant-hoot and tree-drum, and so on,” he told the British science weekly, whose report appears in Saturday’s issue. Samples of a DNA recovered from faeces also put the animals in a recognised subspecies of chimp, Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii.

Williams Cast

Shelly Williams with the Bili Ape foot cast, 2003.

Even so, the Bili apes are unusual, as they have a gorilla-like crest on their skulls and howl during the full moon. About 18 kms (11 miles) northwest of Bili, Hicks came across a large community of the animals that apparently had never met a human before. “It’s fantastic. They surround us and show curiosity — even the adult males. It is these guys we want to study,” said Hicks.

Source: Khaleej Times, June 28, 2006.

Bili Ape

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
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.

9 Responses to “Bili Ape Update”

  1. English Boy responds:

    has anyone got pictures of the Paris apes in Democratic Republic of Congo i dont know what they look like ?

  2. jjames1 responds:

    English Boy:

    The apes aren’t “Paris apes.” The article has a Paris byline because the story was issued from there.

    Here’s one of the pictures I’ve seen of a Bili ape, and it’s not very clear at all.

  3. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Wow, that looks an awful lot like some of the Mawas prints (superficially anyway)… hmmmmmm

  4. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    hmmm, checked out Ammann’s site and his letter to the Omaha Zoo… apparently, despite what the articles are saying, they don’t “howl at the full moon” but are more vocal at that period (what the real difference is beats me). But, nonetheless, it’s interesting the misinformation and confusion going right from the get go on this. Also interesting is Ammann’s assertion that certain extenuating circumstances have led to what he considers premature revelation of some material. (Also interesting that he has Bigfoot and Yeti links at the bottom of his page.)

    Cryptozoologists should take note of these issues arising with the Bili/Bondo apes and keep them in mind to avoid any future problems of this sort should any conclusive evidence of Yeti, Sasquatch, Orang Pendek, etc. ever come to light.

  5. twblack responds:

    Thanks for keeping us up to date on this subject. I bet their will be more coming in the future on this story.

  6. TemplarKnight21c responds:

    I’m not sure I’d want to go looking for these things in the wild, knowing the stories about them killing lions.

  7. English Boy responds:


    oh ok thanks for that yes i realised now just read it again.

  8. rebo429 responds:

    I’m new here, but i couldn’t help but wonder, if humans are 96% or so genetically identical to chimpanzees, wouldn’t a closer relative to the chimp have DNA so close it could be found to be identical if one was not looking for very minor differences? I’m not terribly familiar with primates but it seems like there are quite a lot of differences for this to be a case of population variation. Are there more than one family group of these in the area?

  9. Mnynames responds:

    Rebo429 (first name Max?) brings up a good point. What the question really serves to highlight, however, is the difficulty of determining just exactly what a species is. Undoubtedly they are a recent branching, and surely are close enough to mate with other Chimps, and probably still inclined to as well. Some say that the fact that they can breed with other chimps makes them at best a subspecies, but Lions and Tigers breed with one another, and Mountain Lions and Leopards too, and science accepts that they are all different species. In entomology, if you got a beetle with the same morphology but a slightly different shade of green, likely you could get away with calling it a different species. In the case of these Chimps, they seem to have the same cultural habits, but a different morphology, which in my mind at least makes them eligible for species status.

    Science has always seemed reluctant to add to the number of recognized higher primates, while not even blinking twice to question new insect species, just look at the ludicrous notion that Homo floresiensis is really just a dozen or so microcephalic dwarf skeletons that happened to have lived in the same cave.

    Templarknight, I suppose as long as you’re not a lion, you’ll be fine…

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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