The North China Daily Herald of 7 May 1921 reported a story of an animal variously described as a tiger, an orang-utan, bear, or kangaroo I have titled this blog `Another Kowloon Kangaroo?` rather than `A/The Kowloon Kangaroo` because about 10 years before this case ( in c. 1910) there was a report of a very similar animal which made a mighty leap after it was shot in the New Territories. (Hence the rumour spread that it was a kind of kangaroo) Then as it was dying it dag its own grave.
This animal has eluded Jon Downes and my attempts to identify it. Remember c. 1910 was only 12 years after the New Territories came under British control. Remember too that there are absolutely no kangaroos in south China, unless a vessel was shipwrecked on the coast near Hong Kong in the 15th Century belonging to the explorer Zheng He,who some say reached Australia and may have brought kangaroos back, who then bred. . Nor is it very likely that it was a bear, though one web site I looked at said there was a population of Asiatic brown bears in southern China today. The long nose aspect demolishes all the proposed animals.
Here is the story in full with my own annotations. Thanks to Bob Skinner for passing on the story.
WHAT WAS IT ?
Weird Animal Seen at Night –
Correct Time for Such Things
Great consternation was caused in Kowloon City one night recently when many excited people claimed to have seen a strange and mysterious animal variously described as a bear, a kangaroo, and an orang outang. The animal is said to have seated (1) itself on the hillside in full view of Hokyuen village , near Bailey`s Shipyard on the Kowloon City Road . One witness , says the “ China Mail” (2) thinks that the animal was a full grown man-eating tiger, but is not sure owing to the distance. He could see no stripes and the animal`s coat was of a dark brown. He estimates the mysterious animal to have been about seven feet long and 3 ½ feet high. Armed police were at once sent out but on arrival at the village, behold the beast had vanished! Excited villagers stated that it had sat for a long while on its haunches like a man, with its fore legs hanging down by its side. It had,they said, a particularly long nose. All the nooise they had been able to make with gongs had failed to scare it away. It was, they averred, in full view for a long time before it eventually strolled away and disappeared into the gathering gloom. No one was able to decide the exact nature of the animal but all were agreed that it was a huge thing of a very brutal appearance. If it was not a tiger, what was it the villagers asked themselves. Some replied that it was an extraordinarily huge bear, others that it was an orang outang, and yet others that it was a kangaroo. Hundreds saw it. What was it.
1. No animal just “sits” itself down alone on a hill and does nothing as far as I know. Despite this if it wasn`t a tiger was it an orang-utan as I was told by an America, Don Ady, a POW of the Japanese in Hong Kong (1941-1945) that there were reports of this mammal in the Hong Kong area in the 1930s?
2. Hopefully I`ll be able to find the China Mail for July 1921