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Unknown Ursids


From Peru, Columbia, and Bolivia, the Milne is described as an enormous black bear living in the deep jungles of South America. The most famous encounter was by the famed explorer Leonard Clark in 1946, while floating down the Ucayali River in eastern Peru. He first came across the animal's footprints in the riverbank, measuring 14 inches long and resembling those of a giant man. The second day he found the source of the strange tracks – as they floated down the river, they passed a huge black bear, clawing apart a rotted tree infested with ants in order to get at the larva. As they passed, one on the crew members sharply slapped his paddle in the water, startling the bear so that leapt into the river and began to swim across. As the rafts neared the bear, it turned and swam towards them, either because it was curious, angry, or wanted to crawl out of the river. When the bear was within 3 feet of the raft, the crew leapt overboard, and knowing the animal would upset the craft, Leonard shot it with his pistol. Without his crew, unfortunately, Leonard could not drag the bear's carcass aboard before the piranhas started feeding on it, and was forced to abandon his specimen.
This bear, assuming it exists, could represent either a new relative of the known spectacled bear, (Tremactros ornatus) or be the prodigy of any of South America’s three fossil species of short-faced bears (Artodus bonariensis, brasiliensis or pamparus). Possibly even both, as the spectacled bear is considered a desendant of such prehistoric ursines.
Below, the spectacled bear, supposedly the only ursine living in South America

Bergman's bear
Bergman’s bear is a large, short-haired black bear from the Kamchatkan region of Siberia, in Asia. This animal was first described by Sten Bergman, a Swedish zoologist, who observed a skin of the beast in 1920, and later found tracks mesuring 14 and a half by 10 inches in size. He gave the animal the Latin name of Ursus arctos piscator showing he though of it to be a subspecies of brown bear. During the Cold War, much of Kamchatkan, was closed off by the military, possibly protecting the bear, but at the same time burying the mystery of the animal. Bering Sea huntsman Rodin Sivobolov of north Kamchatka reintroduced the cryptozoological creature in the late 80’s. From the description of natives, Sivobolov learned of a beast know alternatively as the Kainyn-Kutho (god bear) and Irkuiem (‘pants pulled down’). It was described as having forelegs longer than hind, and a bulge of fat between its legs that often reaches the ground, resembling pulled-down pants and giving the animal its second name. In 1989 there was a report of a mystery bear feared by Kamchatkan reindeer herders, and said to come across the Chukchi Sea on Alaskan ice floes. Although no description is available, the crossing of ice floes parallels the movment of the polar bear, which sometimes migrates across the Bering Sea, even if the description does not match the Irkuimen. The specimen seen by Bergman has been theorized by Valerji Orlov, who reported the bears crossing floes, to have been a freak specimen of polar bear, or a member of a permanent colony in Kamchatkan. N.K. Vereshchagin proposed the most radical theory, in which he suggested the bear was surviving Actrodus simus, a giant prehistoric bear that stood almost 6 ft at the shoulder. It matched the Irkuimen in the fact that it had forelegs longer than hind, though the Irkumen was never described as having legs as long as the ancient bear. Several photos of Irkumen skin are most likely those of brown bears.
Nandi Bear
This east African beast is one of the most well-known of African Cryptids, and is defiantly the most dangerous. The Nandi bear is also know as the duba, kerit, chimisit, kikambangwe, sabrookoo, and vere, but it gets it’s name from the African Nandi tribe. It is described as shaped like a large hyena, being about the size of a lion, and having a brownish-red or dark-colored shaggy coat. It is primarily nocturnal, and is said to attack humans on moonless nights and emit a blood-curdling howl. In east Africa, the Nandi bear is recorded in folklore for centuries, usually just vaguely described as bear like animal. True eyewitness accounts do not go back farther than the sightings of settlers. One of the best sightings, in Kenya somewhere early in the 20th century, described an animal 4ft and 3 to 6 inches at the shoulder. The animal moved with a bearlike gait, had a thick dark-brown coat and a sloped back, and broke into a shamble as it headed to a belt of trees. Geoffrey Williams recorded seeing a bear like animal in the light of his campfire, and shot at -but missed- it as it headed into some rocks with a ‘sideways canter’. He described it as being about 5’ high, having shorter hair on its hindquarters, no tail, and small ears. A report from the Madidi railway described 5-toed tracks 8.5 inches long with an elongated heel, defiantly suggesting the hind foot of a bear. He made sketches of the tracks, though where they might be viewed I do not know. There were sighting from the same area, one which described the animal as standing upright on it's hind legs. A mystery beast that appeared later in the same district and had a peculiar habit of killing sheep and goats, then eating out their brains, was automatically suggested as being the Nandi bear. The creature, which killed 57 goats and sheep in ten days, was eventually tracked down and speared, only to turn out to be nothing but a large spotted hyena that developed an unusual (particularly for a hyena) habit of eating brains. Sightings after the 1920’s are unfortunately rare.
What the animal might be, however, is a difficult question to answer. The most obvious conclusion is that the animal is some type of bear, based not only on it’s bear like movement, but to the fact it has 5 toes (neither cats nor hyenas have that characteristic) small ears, is tailless, and stands on it’s hind legs, all suggesting an ursine animal. However, the only bear to have lived in Africa in recent times is the Atlas bear (Ursus actors crowtheri) a subspecies of brown bear that lived in the Atlas mountains in extreme northern Africa until it’s extinction in 1840. It does fit the Nandi bear’s description as far as being small and dark-colored. However, due to the extreme range gap between the Atlas Mountains and east Africa (the thousands of miles of Sahara desert) and the fact U.a. crowtheri was dependant on dwindling conifer forests for habitat, nonexistent is east Africa, makes this an even more unlikely suspect. The only other possible bear is the fossil Langebaanweg bear,Agriotherium africanum dating back 4-5 million years is South Africa. However, we can only guess at it's apperance and total distribution. There are, however, alternative theories. A species of hyena, particularly one of the extinct varieties, would fit the bear’s description as far as being a ferocious hunter and having a sloping back. The Short-faced hyena of the Pleistocene makes a fair candidate. It was roughly the size of a modern lion, and even had a bear-like face. Since it was larger and possibly less of a scavenger than its modern-day contemporary, it would be more capable of the Nandi bear’s attacks. Of course, we would also have to assume that the short faced hyena differed from modern hyenas in being shaggier, having an proportionally very smaller tail and ears, and a different gait, and could also climb trees and stand upright. Since some tribes describe the animal as being some sort of giant primate, a few people have theorized the animal is, in fact, a large baboon. Since baboons can be shaggy, have an at least somewhat bearlike face, climb trees, stand upright, and have teeth capable of doing the work attributed to the beast, they may indeed be the culprit. Baboons, since omnivorous, can and will eat small animals up to the size of sheep, and past species of baboons have gotten quite large. However, baboons, and primates in general, are exclusively diurnal, while the Nandi bear is nocturnal, and Baboons always live in troops, whereas the bear is solitary. Also, baboons have a distinctive head, with a hairless snout, close-set eyes, a monkeylike face, low-set ears and a short neck, not to mention most baboons have tails but no claws, both of which are described in many accounts of the Nandi bear. The most unlikely of candidates is the Chalicothere, a strange primitive now-extinct ungulate. Chalicothere’s had long claws for eating leaves and shoots, a sloping back, probably stood upright and even survived in Africa later than in other areas. However, it was (of course) a strict herbivore, not to mention it was much larger than the bear was ever reported to be, immediately ruling it out as a probable candidate.
A Roman mosaic of the Atlas bear, a now extinct bear of North Africa, though by some to be a relative of the Nandi bear

Other Bears
This segment will include all mystery bears that do not have a significant amount of information surrounding them for there own section. As always, I encourage visitors to reference any other available information that I have not included.
McFarlanes bear of Canada’s North West Territory had an unusual cream-colored coat and an unusually formed head. Supposedly, one was shot at the Anderson River, and the animal’s skin and skull are now somewhere in the Smithsonian. Another account, possibly describing the same specimen, tells of a bear that was killed at Rendezvous Lake in 1816. An early taxonomist described the animal as ‘Buffy whitish’ with a golden-brown muzzle, and identified it as a new genus and species, Vetularctos inopinatus, claiming it probably was descended from the prehistoric short-faced bear. Considering the taxonomic standards of the time (brown bears alone were divided into two species, with black bears and polar bears in separate genera) it could just have been an aberrant specimen, a unique subspecies, or a polar/grizzly bear cross (Ursus martimus x arctos). Future DNA studies may lead to the answer. A "Giant polar bear" was reported from Kodiak Island in 1943. Clara Helgason gave a descriptionof a bear her father had shot when she was a girl. The creature was large, off-white, and had hair covering its paws. It may have just been a vagrant polar bear, or an albino Kodiak, but the hairy feet suggest something other than a normal Kodiak brown bear. The Red mountain bear, a small reddish-colored bear of the Muscarens Mountains of Columbia, is well-known to natives, and Peru has also been host to the Pygmy brown bear, wich may very well be the same animal. Both animals are possible color variants of the spectacled bear, or descendants of the ancient short-faced bear. The African Dwarf bear of Morocco and neighboring countries, is a small dark-grey or brown colored bear said to live in the Atlas Mountains of North Africa. The perfect candidate for this cryptid is undoubtedly the recently extinct Atlas bear (mentioned in the Nadi bear section) which was small, dark colored, and lived in the animals range. Another possibility is the Atlas bear’s relative, a diminutive fossil brown bear by the name of U. a. faidherbianus which lived in north Africa and may have outlived the Pleistocene. The Shennongjia white bear, called ‘bia-xiong’ by natives, is the cryptic pure white bear of Red China, in the Shennongjia forests of the Hubei province. Four were supposedly caught and displayed in a zoo sometime in the 1960’s. It is though to be some kind of brown bear, a rare white subspecies paralleling the Kermode black bear that lives in a small section of dense forests in British Columbia. From the Murung River in Borneo of Indonesia, a vauge report of a bear like creature has surfaced. Not much else is known about this supposed animal, but some have suggested it may be a giant civet like creature like the Binturong. The most fanciful of cryptid bears is no doubt the ‘hedgehog bear’. Reported by the famed “Grizzly” Adams, a strange creature that looked like a bear with it’s back and spines covered in spines was seen. This has been the only report of this animal, and it very probable that Adams made the animal up as a joke.

Phantom Felids
Cryptic Canids
Mystifying Mustelids
Mysterious Marsupials
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