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Lair of the Beasts: Strange Creatures of Sumatra
An Extreme Expedition
By Nick Redfern
March 12, 2011
The Ape-Man of Sumatra.
Adam Davies is a first-class investigator of all-things cryptozoological and monster-themed, and the author of the book Extreme Expeditions, which I most definitely recommend to anyone and everyone interested in knowing what goes on during a quest to seek out strange beasts in remote and exotic locations.
And, Adam has some excellent news to relate: later this year, he will be leading a team from Britain’s Center for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) to the depths of Sumatra – in search of a breed of mysterious, diminutive ape-men known locally, and collectively, as the Orang-Pendek.
So, it’s over to Adam for all the details: “Sumatra, and the Orang-Pendek, in particular, holds a special affection for me. Since I first visited this beautiful country, with its dense virgin rainforest and proud tribal people, I have always been fascinated by the Orang-Pendek, the ‘short man’ of the forests.
“I have no doubt the Orang-Pendek exists. Over the years I have interviewed many witnesses who have seen this creature. In 2009 the CFZ expedition was fortunate to have an eyewitness ourselves in Dave Archer. And Sahar Didmus saw one pinned against a tree, before it scurried away from us into the jungle. The experience so moved Sahar that he burst into tears.”
Adam continues: “Importantly, there has been a considerable body of scientific evidence that has been gathered to support the existence of the Orang-Pendek. For example, previous expeditions I have led, in 2001 and 2004, brought back both prints and hair samples. These were analyzed by various international experts, including Drs. Chivers, Meldrum and Brunner, who all came to the conclusion that they were from an ‘unknown primate.’”
Adam notes that success was all achieved in 2009, when “the hair samples we brought back were analyzed by Lars Thomas, who again came to the conclusion that they were from an ‘unknown primate.’”
As he also notes: “Thus, because of the body of evidence gathered, the discussion has moved away from whether the Orang-Pendek exists, to what it actually is. This is what the Sumatra expedition this year seeks to achieve: a further refining of that process, hopefully with greater determinative evidence so that we can pin down the creature once and for all.”
With regard to the expedition members, says Adam: “The team, as it stands, will comprise the following members: Dr Chris Clark, Richard Freeman, Dave Archer, Jon McGowan, Lisa Dowley, Andrew Sanderson, and Rebecca and Mike from CFZ Australia. I will again be leading the overall expedition team.
“However, with a bigger group we will have the luxury of covering a wider area so the plan is, at present, to cover two locations. I will take one team to the Lake at Gunung Tujuh, while the other team, which will concentrate on the edges of the farmlands and villages, will be led by Dr Chris Clark. Chris's team in particular will focus on the areas where there has been a concentration of Orang-Pendek activity in recent years. That way we get to maximize our chances, of both gathering evidence, and actually seeing it. We are aware it is always a long shot with these expeditions. More often than not, nothing is found, but our previous success must offer some encouragement.”
Adam concludes: “Please wish us luck in our endeavors. This will be the sixth time that I have been to Sumatra, looking for evidence of the Orang-Pendek. In that time, I have been struck by the continuing pace of logging and the general deforestation, despite the efforts of the guides and rangers who accompany us. Leaving it alone just isn't an option. Time is running out for the Orang-Pendek and the area it inhabits.”
I’ll be sure to keep you informed of any and all developments from Adam and the team on this latest development in the saga of Sumatra’s enigmatic Orang-Pendek.
Nick Redfern is the author of many books, including Final Events; There’s something in the Woods; and the forthcoming The Real Men in Black.