As you may know, Richard Muirhead and I have been working on a project on the mystery animals of Hong Kong for many years. He recently sent me this posting from the Hong Kong Outdoors forum:
Returned to Sam A. Wan for an overnight this weekend. I wanted more time to explore the coves, snorkel, and dry off. I was also interested in the nightlife, having previously seen a mongoose here, and many guidebooks mentioning this as the best area for mammals. Stayed at the campsite till an approaching (but never arriving) thunderstorm sent me scurrying to the ferry pier pagoda at about 2130hrs. The nightwalk was fun, seeing two snakes but not even hearing anything else.
A small rat-snake slithered across in front, and a 2.5ft bamboo pit viper who loved the concrete at the pagoda. Took a good hour to get him to leave. I wanted him to make his own way off, but really needed to settle down and take my eyes off him. So he was coaxed away. He liked that pagoda and circled around, came back, and bit my walking stick 5 times before he eventually made off permanently through the grass. It broke my heart but I just couldn't have him around when I was going to hammock-up there all night. Now for the strange part... I'll start by saying I have seen, both up close and distant, many wild boar. And it was a full and bright moon, which provided a lovely reflective glass view of the bay and mountains.
Upon arriving at the pier, a pale (in the moonlight) sheep-sized creature ran off the stony mangrove beach whilst grunting, huffing and growling at me. Size- and shape-wise it didn't seem like a wild boar, nor did it sound like one, and too fat for a muntjac. The paleness also confused me. I hoped it would come back, and put it behind me as it was impossible to identify. I set up the hammock (apologies to the villager whose rope I used, I forgot to put it back next morning, but it would have been very easy to find), so as to get a view of the surroundings.
A bull ambled past. Got the binoculars out and settled in. Almost immediately my first scan of the adjacent shoreline revealed a large mammal. First thought was 'dog'. Never thought 'boar' till I had no options left. Now this is going to sound silly, but it was a bear-like creature with thick fur that shone in the moonlight. The legs were thick, unlike a dog or boar, and it perambled along, bear-like. I watched this for about 10mins at a distance of 100m in the moonlight as it snuffed along the beach looking for morsels before entering the scrubline and dissapearing. I am completely unsure of any identification, and will not even attempt it. It has to have been wild boar, but my mind just will not agree. As far as I am concerned, keep it quiet and let it be. But if anyone wishes to investigate they may. The creature was aware of me and though initially startled came back quite soon. Maybe some smuggled pet has either escaped off the smuggling boat or been set free? I must save up and either get night vision or photo-trap. These night walks are frustrating the hell out of me.