The Cryptid Zoo: Out of Place

Lions and kangaroos exist. There are no scientists who doubt that. Yet both creatures have been regularly reported for many decades from areas where no wild populations are supposed to be. There are many other creatures of cryptozoology that are notable only for the places they are being sighted. Peacocks in Africa? Orangutans in China? Leopards in England? These creatures simply are not supposed to be there.

The explanation of circus or zoo escapees is trotted out quite often to explain these creatures away, but only by newspapers and the uneducated, not by scientists. According to records, there have been very few of these escapees and they are usually captured within a few hours or days of getting out. Also, the time of these escapes do not generally correspond to periods when sightings are high.

Illegal or secretly kept exotic pets are a more likely explanation, but there is one problem with this. With many of these out-of-place cryptids, sightings have been happening with the same kinds of animals for decades or even for hundreds of years, long before the exotic pet problem was widespread. In a few cases, the sightings existed before any examples of the animal were kept in captivity, as with gorilla sightings in North America.

The exotic pet explanation also fails to explain why we don't see more variety. If lots of exotic pets are getting loose all the time, we would expect to see more different types of out-of-place cryptid in the same area, not just one or two types persisting over a long time period. For example, we might expect to see hyenas, alligators and leopards instead of just leopards. We would not expect one region to specialize in leopard sightings over a long time period unless a feral population had established itself or unless leopards had actually lived there from time immemorial. Scientists generally deny the possibility of an established feral population. Yet hard-to-explain patterns do persist, puzzling scientists and cryptozoologists alike.

Paranormal researchers sometimes explain such out-of-place animals as examples of teleportation. Supposedly, these animals are randomly teleported from their native environment into a foreign one, then teleported back, leaving nothing as proof except footprints and occasional hairs. Sometimes aliens are held to be responsible for this teleportation, though it is hard to think of a reason why such activity would have any purpose, and other times this teleportation is supposed to behave like some kind of purely natural phenomena, such as the weather, without any need for intelligent beings to operate it. There is seldom any explanation given for why these supposed teleportation vortexes seem to show a preferences for big cats, kangaroos and apes.

Cryptozoologists are primarily interested in explanations that do not involve aliens, teleportation or the supernatural. Cryptozoologists mainly look for clues that an "out of place" animal was native to the area all along, or that a breeding population has been established in the area. First, they try to prove that at least one individual is present by capturing or killing an example. If that can be accomplished, they try to capture or kill additional specimens (because one animal will never convince mainstream scientists of the existence of a local breeding population). Sometimes multiple animals will do the trick, but sometimes even then the issue remains in doubt, which requires extensive observation in the field, such as video of denning animals or of mothers caring for obviously wild-birthed young. This last requirement is difficult and expensive to do. In-field observation with accompanying video proof is difficult and expensive even in the case of real wild animals that aren't in dispute, let alone the expense and challenges of doing it with elusive cryptids which may or may not exist. Therefore, in many cases this last step never gets done.

African Peacocks
Alien Big Cats
American Lions
Black Panthers
Eastern Cougar
Mainland Orangutan
Nandi Bear

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