Joyriding Johor and Neglecting Nepal

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.

Yeti Scalp

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.”

Malaysia Bigfoot Permit

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 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 “Joyriding Johor and Neglecting Nepal”

  1. Ole Bub responds:

    I’m too dumb to have an opinion on all this hair splitting and legalese…does the left hand know what the right hand is doing?

    It was damn nice of those folks to fund a habitat preserve in Bhutan….JMHO

    The “Yeti” as a symbol of conservancy…I like it…beats hell outta Greenpeace…or…Peta…

    “some day this war is gonna end”

    seeing is believing….

    ole bub and Toshiba the Samurai dawg

  2. Limbit responds:

    It seems rather naive to assume that putting an undiscovered species on a protection list will in any way help it. The animal is largely better off being undiscovered. The moment it is recognized by science there will likely be a demand for pouchers to capture specimen. I believe this would be especialy true in areas like Johor where the state government can not likely supply the creature ample protection. It’s like a certificate to become extinct or pushed out of a region. Given, at least there is punishment of some kind against perpetrators. But seriously, is the risk of a $10,000 dollar fine going to stop someone who believes they can make ten times that amount off the body of Bigfoot? Does the risk of a $500 dollar fine deter people from abusing domestic animals? Does the risk of decades in prison deter people from selling narcotics? It’s better for Bigfoot if people just believe the shaggy guy is an old miner’s tale.

  3. Ajeyya responds:

    I do believe that the most important point is that there evidence of the existence of Bigfoot is yet to be found.
    In earlier reportings about this creature, several names were given to it, including “King Kong”, obviously there’s not a clear idea that Bigfoot does not look like King Kong. For years, there had not been any reports of sightings, and a research professor conducting almost 20 years of research in the forest reserves in Malaysia had never once spotted any signs of the purported Bigfoot.
    Some who may have gone into the API forum may have seen the newspaper article highlighting this point, a Malay article that I had already translated in there.

  4. Peaks of Dan responds:

    I get the feeling that your “motive” can be questioned when it comes to the BFRO. I feel your association with Craig and the Texas version of the BFRO has caused a “us vs. them” mentality. Without a doubt, the BFRO is the #1 web site in the nation when it comes to Bigfoot reporting. NO ONE in the nation has a broader data base than they do!
    Yes, they “may” have made a mistake when it comes to the Sonoma Bigfoot footage, BUT in all your years of reporting, have you not been “taken in” or tricked into misleading information?

  5. Loren Coleman responds:

    Is the above comments something from a BFRO insider or defender versus someone who knows anything about how most people feel about or have experienced the BFRO? I don’t need any motivation from anyone, and don’t demean me with projections such as the above. I would be an idiot if I didn’t see and wasn’t able to critique the long-term and short-term behaviors of the BFRO, for what they are. The BFRO’s actions have been apparent to many, from alleged fiscal mismanagement to allowing “musk deer snorting reports” on their website for years as “Bigfoot sounds in the woods.” Sorry to disappoint anyone, but the BFRO has been making mistakes for a very long time. It’s what organizations ruled by one individual do if they continue to promote only one world view, at the exclusion of others’ suggestions, don’t show other researchers their “evidence,” build up a database of “reports” without any critical thinking, or don’t allow any type of peer-review. Read the remarks of some of the former “curators” (e.g. Jeff Meldrum, Rick Noll, Ron Schaffner, etc.) after they left. Look up the remarks of those who have experienced personal attacks from the BFRO. The classic characteristics are there that make the BFRO sound more like a cult than a research group. It is the pattern that worries many of us.

    BTW, yes, I actually, have in 46 years, made mistakes. And yes, I have admitted them. This is unlike the BFRO that hides theirs, edits and deletes them from their history and website. But then what you have just experienced here, well, this a regular BFRO tactic, isn’t it? To turn the information-based discussion into something personal.

  6. Craig Woolheater responds:

    Texas version of the BFRO? While the TBRC was associated with the BFRO at one time, we have not been since September of last year. The TBRC members who were also members of the BFRO became sole members of the TBRC. Several other members of the BFRO who worked with the TBRC also left and became members of the TBRC.

    Although you may have just been referencing the fact that I head up a Bigfoot research organization, I feel compelled to make that distinction, especially in light of tonight’s airing of the Penn & Teller program on Showtime.

  7. jayman responds:

    I follow a number of non-mainstream topics and issues, and unfortunately this kind of in-fighting seems endemic to all of them. Egos get involved, and everybody wants to be the one to break the “big” story, the one that will vindicate the whole issue. But the bickering only serves to discredit the whole thing in the public eye.

  8. DWA responds:

    Loren, with all due respect: lay down your arms!

    Both you and the BFRO have done too much good work to put matches to it now. Defensiveness feeds on itself. Spin leads to counterspin (as I think you noted).

    And I think it has been said before as well: this is the kind of thing that discredits cryptozoology. “Real,” stodgy, will-never-find-bigfoot-on-its-own science at least has the advantage of history and standing when it goes piddle-pants like this. You’ll never get there fighting like this.

    Your sense of humor is one of your biggest assets. And you’ve said yourself how important it is. Don’t bury it when you need it most. Shame ’em back into common cause. It’s the only way.

    That said: the biggest potential impact of Bigfoot/relict hominoid confirmation — and it’s only potential and may be pie in the sky — is the potential for massive, protected reserves for a big omnivore with a huge range — the ultimate umbrella species. If sasquatch teaches us to behave….well it’ll be worth all the teeth-grinding you and BFRO have to do before you shake hands. 😉

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