A FEW WEEKS AGO WE ASKED VARIOUS BLOGGO REGULARS TO TELL US WHAT WERE THEIR TOP THREE FAVOURITE MYSTERY ANIMALS... AND WHY
Tony Lucas is one of our New Zealand representatives. We first published his work in the 2008 Yearbook when he wrote us an overview of New Zealand cryptozoology....
1. New Zealand laughing owl.
I choose the New Zealand laughing owl-Sceloglaux albifacies as the first of my three because the evidence for a remnant population of these maniacal little residents of the forest is so strong.
Although the last trace of this little bird was a dead specimen found in July 1914 at the Blue Cliff Station in Canterbury, there have been over the years possible calls heard occasional pellets and most tellingly possible egg fragments which seemed to indicate that the species may still exist d and still remains unsighted.
There are many remote and unexplored areas of open, rocky high country in the Southern Alps which is habitat that these birds dwelled in.
This moderately sized species of owl could easily have been driven back into the high country of the South Island and could remain undetected with very little difficulty.
Regrettably I feel there is no hope however the North Island subspecies exists as from the records the last of these were kept in captivity by Mr. W.W.Smith in Wellington and died somewhere around 1883.
2. Thylacine-Tasmanian Tiger
It is very likely that the species still exists as there have been numerous reports of sightings, close encounters, tracks, droppings, pictures and video footage.
There have even been reports of adults with young indicating that somewhere a breeding population still exists.
When you get this much evidence being presented from a supposedly extinct creature you have to start asking yourself whether it truly is extinct.
There are no shortage of eyewitnesses and quite a few people believe in certain areas these animals definitely still roam about, not only in Tasmania but also still on parts of the mainland.
My personal theory is that these animals do still exist and have retreated further back into the bush after being made scared of humans by the relentless hunting that went on during the 1930s.
There are vast areas of both the mainland and Tasmania with ample habitat and enough abundant food resources to easily support remnant populations.
Their reclusiveness is probably the only thing that saved a remnant population from being wiped into extinction by overenthusiastic hunters and direct competition from the introduced Dingo.
My third of the big three is a somewhat unusual choice but seems to have a lot of backing.
3. New Zealand Mosasaurs.
There have been numerous reports of sea monsters around New Zealand waters, all described as having a Crocodilian like head, long slender body and flippers.
A New Zealand paleontologist, Alan Marks presented a theory that a small population of these creatures live in the depths of the Pacific Ocean and range occasionally into the Atlantic and Indian oceans.
With New Zealands deep coastal waters there are enough species such as the giant squid that could provide more than enough food for these marine reptiles.
One of the more fascinating tales of this creature comes from researcher Sam Yivano; apparently in 2008 two of these creatures rammed and attack a boat belonging to Ivan Levy for about an hour.
The unfortunate and bewildered man returned to the shore with a very wrecked and battered boat.
Were these a breeding pair protecting an area they were breeding in? Or was the boat mistaken for a whale, another possible food source for these creatures? We may never know but something did tear up Mr. Levy’s boat. This is only one story of many of crocodilian headed monsters and their encounters with humans.
Like most marine mystery creatures they no doubt are very well attuned to the noise of boat engines and have no doubt learned to avoid them and stay out of the way of shipping lanes.
Perhaps somewhere in the dark waters around New Zealand this large reptilian predator cruises the oceans even today feasting on giant squid and raising young as they have done for millions of years.
New Zealand Cryptozoologist