August 23, 2010

Maasai Mara Mystery

Photo: Paolo Torchio.

Photographer Paolo Torchio recently came upon a weird-looking antelope on Africa’s Maasai Mara, sometimes written as “Masai Mara.”

The Masai Mara National Reserve is properly spelled Maasai Mara. It is known by the locals as “the Mara,” a large game reserve in southwestern Kenya. The reserve is essencely the northern continuation of the Serengeti National Park game reserve in Tanzania. Named after the Maasai people, the traditional inhabitants of the area, it reflects their description of the area when looked at from a viewpoint – “Mara,” which is Maa (Maasai language) for spotted: an apt description for the circles of trees, scrub, savannah and cloud shadows that mark the area. It is famous for its exceptional population of large felids, game, and the annual migration of zebra, Thomson’s gazelle and wildebeest from the Serengeti every year from July to October, a migration so immense it is called the “Great Migration.”

Photo: Paolo Torchio.

Paula of Baraza’s Wildlife Direct quotes Torchio in noting that capturing an image of something never seen before is every photographer’s dream.

In cryptozoology, being aware of unusual specimens is of assistance in realizing that all reports of cryptids might not be, necessarily, a new species. Nevertheless, it is important to keep track of such incidents, as much as possible. Some examples of these encountered animals may be merely mutated forms of known species, hybrids, or other seemingly strange occurrences among a large normal population.

In the case of this “Masai Mara Mystery,” this animal, with ruffled head, which almost forms a mane, also has longer than normal body fur.

Photo: Paolo Torchio.

From the animals it is with, this is clearly a Thompson’s gazelle (Gazella thomsoni) of some kind. Examples from Masai Mara are easily found on the web (e.g. here and here).

Photo: Paolo Torchio.

For more of Paolo Torchio’s wildlife photographs, click here.

I thank Paolo Torchio for his direct, firsthand permission to post his photographs of this unusual antelope.

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.

Filed under Breaking News, Cryptotourism, CryptoZoo News, Eyewitness Accounts, Photos, Weird Animal News