Are Malaysian Bigfoot Colonies Really Orangutans?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on February 18th, 2006

National pride, long term observations, reports of a colony, and a supposedly novel theory are the breaking news out of Malaysia today. But wait a minute, is the Johor Wildlife Protection Society merely talking about orangutans?

News out of Malaysia on February 18, 2006, indicates that the Johor Wildlife Protection Society says they have:

scientific evidence to prove the existence of Bigfoot whose reported sightings recently in the Johor jungles have excited the world’s media. Not just one Bigfoot but a whole colony of the giant, hairy creatures which the society named "Orang Lenggor" (Lenggor People) as one was spotted in an area by that name, said the society’s secretary Tay Teng Hwa.

Noting they will make the evidence public soon, they report they have studied the cryptids for six years and interacted directly with them.

The Johor Wildlife Protection Society claims:

The adult creatures are between 10 and 12 feet tall while their children are 6 to 7 footers. Seventy per cent of the Orang Lenggor have a human appearance but the rest resemble apes…They like to eat fish and fruits they gather in the jungles, including durian. They also have a liking for river water that contains dissolved salt and would walk for miles to get it.

A key here is durian, the favorite fruit of an ape we already know a lot about. Is the society talking about orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus), a species that currently inhabits only the islands of Sumatra and Borneo? The orangutan was once found throughout Indo-China, Malaysia and north to China. Fossil evidence discussed by the anthropologist (famed for his work on the Gigantopithecus), Ralph von Koenigswald, suggests that, during the Pleistocene, orangutan distribution extended from Java in the south, across mainland Asia, and reached up as far north as China. Could these Malaysian "Bigfoot" reports be a relict population of Pongo?

Bernard Heuvelmans tracked orangutan-like cryptids from Assam, Burma, China, and Vietnam, through the literature, and felt (in his 1986 checklist) they could be mainland orangutan populations in other locations than Sumatra and Borneo. Will Malaysia’s "Orang Lenggor" turn out to be orangutans?

The "Orang Lenggor" reportedly have black hair on their bodies when they are young but the hair gradually turns brown as they grew older. The coloration of the orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) can vary from a reddish-brown to a nearly black coat and with various degrees of hair length.

The society’s timing for revealing its discovery, they allege, is due to foreigners armed with sophisticated equipment who were entering the Johor jungles to track down Bigfoot without the knowledge of the state government.

"We are worried these foreigners might find Bigfoot and then announce to the world as their discovery," they have told the media.

The society is planning to field an expedition to the "Orang Lenggor" colony in either March or April 2006.

For more links to all the Malaysian Bigfoot accounts, including the links to the exclusive Harold Stephens’ interviews and all previous Malay posts, see the bottom of the post here.

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.

8 Responses to “Are Malaysian Bigfoot Colonies Really Orangutans?”

  1. fuzzy responds:

    The Johor Wildlife Protection Society claims they have studied a whole colony of giant, hairy creatures for six years and interacted directly with them, noting the adults are between 10 and 12 feet tall, and that they will make the evidence public soon!?

    I thought Biscardi was in Oklahoma?

  2. Ranatemporaria responds:

    It is more than likely that if there is a species of great ape that it will by phylo-geneticaly related to Urangs, after all there is less than a 2 percent difference in the DNA of man and Chimp! However it being isolated allopatric population to those known in Sumatra and Borneo divergence may well have occurred thus resulting in a new species that may be only slightly different phenotypically to those that are known. Still new great ape species non- the less. That’s assuming they exits at all, we shall have to wait on the evidence…as usual!

    On a sideline does anyone know if any of the great apes are able to produce viable (or not) offspring, and if so are there known examples. I guess man and chimps would present the most plausible though illegal possibility.

  3. fuzzy responds:


  4. iftheshoefits responds:

    Dittos to fuzzy’s first and second posts.

  5. Ranatemporaria responds:

    Sorry if that was a little unclear. Basicly its quite possible that there is a new species of primate in malaysia. And if there is it would be probable it would be related to ones that are known and nearby. Therefore we shouldnt be suprised, if they exist, that they look and behave similar to Urangs. As for the second piont i was wondering if there was any known cases of ape hybridizing e.g. a gorilla chimp cross? This may explain the occurance of any large bi-pead primates.

  6. charlie23 responds:

    Is the “Johor Wildlife Protection Society” even a legitimate scientific group? I find plenty of references to the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), Johor Branch, but they seem strangly quiet amidst all these fantastic claims. The only actual reference to JWPS outside of this “bigfoot”/”12 foot tall Orang Utan” available from Google is an article from Aug. 2005 mentioning that they’d tipped off the state wildlife department about 2 captive tiger cubs. This hardly presents them as credible.

  7. cradossk responds:

    The russkies were trying to create man-ape hybrids during the early stages of the cold war (allegedly), and didn’t succeed. As you stated, there is less than 2% difference between man and chimp, but 2% is still a hell of a lot of genetic material. I guess it would be possible to create a hybrid between two sub species of chimp, but I think there’s too much genetic difference between great ape species to produce offspring.

    Apparently there are some legends amongst tribes in Africa about gorilla – man hybrids, but I might be confusing fact from fiction (ie. Congo).

    But, im no geneticist, so i could be wrong

  8. Godrock responds:

    I’ve already read “Monster” by Frank Peretti. I know what could happen.

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