Saturday, November 19, 2016

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Mngwa or Nundu

The Mngwa, also known as the Nunda is a mysterious creature sighted in Tanzania.Folklore from eastern Africa (especially Tanzania) describes a big cat that natives insist is a different species than the lion. 


It is described by both natives and white hunters as a creature larger than a leopard, with dark grayish, brindled fur. Brindling is the rough, intersperse and indistinct striping seen on many breeds of dogs. Brindling tends to look like one color from a distance. 


It was first mentioned in a Swahili song dating from the year 1150 which also mentions the Lion (Simba) the Leopard (Nsui) and the Mngwa as three different creatures. The legend says that this big cat is stronger than a lion and deadlier than a leopard. It moves silently, comes out to kill humans, and then disappears. No hunter has ever achieved success in killing one.  About 700 years ago, leaders of native tribes organized hunting parties to find the Mngwa, but there is no record of them catching any.

In early 1900s, famous British scientific journal Discovery, William Hichens, a British administrator working in Tanzania reported that several natives stated that they were attacked by this beast.He wrote about the mangled bodies of several natives that were said to have been attacked by the legendary monster; the victims were found clutching tufts of grey fur in their hands. He thought it to be a giant, man-eating lion that was responsible for the attacks, but both fur-samples and tracks were different from those of a lion.In 1937, Hichens wrote that the attacks had begun again:

 "Not long ago a man was brought in to me at Mchinga on a litter and terribly mauled by some great beast. He said it was a mngwa ... One well-known hunting-song tells of the Simba [lion], Nsui [leopard], and the Mngwa all in one verse, plainly showing that there is no confusion in the native mind between these three great carnivores."

In Frank W. Lane's 1954 issue of Nature Parade, Patrick Bowen, a hunter who tracked the Mngwa at one time, remarked that the animal's tracks were like those of the leopard, but much larger.  Lane believed that the attacks reported in the 19th century by the Chimiset, associated with the Nandi Bear, might actually have been attacks by the Mngwa.

Bernard Heuvelmans in his book “ On the Track of Unknown Animals” speculated that the creature may possibly have been an abnormally coloured variation. He later,in a 1986 Cryptozoology article, proposed that it may be a larger subspecies of the golden cat (Profelis aurata).


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