At the beginning of the 21st Century monsters still roam the remote, and sometimes not so remote, corners of our planet. It is our job to search for them. The Centre for Fortean Zoology [CFZ] is - we believe - the largest professional, scientific and full-time organisation in the world dedicated to cryptozoology - the study of unknown animals. Since 1992 the CFZ has carried out an unparalleled programme of research and investigation all over the world. Since 2009 we have been running the increasingly popular CFZ Blog Network, and although there has been an American branch of the CFZ for over ten years now, it is only now that it has a dedicated blog.

Tuesday 25 March 2014


The okapi (Okapia johnstoni) was long held to be merely a legend, a cryptid.  Its existence was finally established in 1901.  It lives in the Ituri Forest in Central Africa and that is where it might  reasonably expected to be found on the loose.

However, there is a rather startling report of an okapi-like creature in Tasmania.  This was reported in the North Western Advocate and Emu Bay Times on April 18th, 1916.

The report says that an animal which sounds very like an okapi was seen drifting out of the water and landing on Hunter Island, off the Tasmanian coast, in 1911.  Neck and body were pale brown and the ears white.  The haunches were black and white striped.  The witness was named H.J. Mather.

If he did indeed see an okapi, how did it reach Australia?  It can't have swum there all the way from Africa and I cannot believe a population of okapis is to be found dwelling in the sea.  I can only conjecture that it was either:-

     (a) a captured okapi in a shipwreck that swam to shore; or
     (b) a captive okapi that had escaped from its owner and had
          fancied a dip in the sea.

It remains that the likelihood of anyone owning an okapi in the region seems to the present writer very remote.  However, you never know.  Its presence must remain a mystery.

The information above is taken from Weird Australia, a Kindle book by Andrew Nicholson.

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