The Cryptid Zoo: Mngwa (or Gray Cat)

Lore from eastern Africa (especially Tanzania) describes a big cat that natives insist is a different species than the lion. Called the mngwa or nunda, it is described by both native inhabitants and white hunters as larger than a leopard, with grayish, brindled fur. Brindling is the rough, peppered and indistinct striping seen on many breeds of domestic dog. Brindling tends to look like one color from a distance.

There are a number of possibilities for what the mngwa could be if it is real. It might be a new species of big cat, a weird color phase of the lion, or an abnormally colored and giant-sized subspecies of the leopard. Another possibility is that the mngwa could be a close relative of the tiger. Its striping, however indistinct and brindled it may be, suggests that the mngwa could have a connection to the tiger. Perhaps the mngwa is a new, super-rare African subspecies of tiger, one that is in the middle of an evolutionary process of losing its stripes. In addition to explaining the mngwa's striping, this concept would also explain its size, since tigers are larger than leopards, and tigers hold the official position as the world's biggest feline (since some of them are larger than the record-holding biggest lions).

You can find out more about the Mngwa from the following sources:

Clark, Jerome and Coleman, Loren. Cryptozoology A-Z. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999. Pages 163-164
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Moggycat. Anomalous Felids

Newton, Michael. Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology: A Global Guide to Hidden Animals and Their Pursuers. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2005. Page 301

Wikipedia, The. Mngwa

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The text on this page is copyright 2006 by Jamie Hall. Please use proper citation if you are using this website for research.