Artists rendering of the Orang Pendek. Credit: Centre for Fortean Zoology
As one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, Adam Davies has pursued the death worm of Mongolia and the Mokele-mbembe lake monster of Congo, the Sasquatch and the Yeti. The British explorer spoke to us about the need to make his passion more respectable.
What is cryptozoology?
It’s basically looking for unknown or undiscovered animals, and that for me is about working with credible scientists. It’s a broad sphere and you have to dismiss some of it. If someone says they saw a unicorn in their garden I’m not interested, but if they saw a rare primate in the jungle it's game on.
Where are your hunting grounds?
In the last year I’ve looked for Bigfoot in the US, and the Orang Pendek – the Sumatran ape-man. I’ve looked for the Congolese dinosaur for the BBC and the Yeti in Nepal. I’ve been almost anywhere on the planet, mostly on my own time and money.
What is your number 1 ambition?
I’ve always been interested in bipedal primates and if I could prove the Orang Pendek that would be the find of the century. We’ve come close to proving it with hairs and prints, most skeptics would accept it’s highly plausible.
Are these species being covered up?
I don’t believe so as I have worked with governments on my projects. The problem is the species are very rare and elusive, as you would be if you were under threat.
Some of cryptozoology is just bizarre right?
It’s a broad area and that’s why it’s important to work with credible scientists to corroborate findings. We need more rigor in the field, such as through sending hairs for DNA tests. But there is also a place for eccentricity.