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Devil-pig, sepia tint, Marc Dupont

Monckton's Gazeka drawn by Marc Dupont

Other names: Ambun beast, devil pig, Papuan devil pig
Country reported: Papua New Guinea

The gazeka or Monckton's gazeka was a cryptid reported from Papua New Guinea and famously described by explorer Charles Monckton around the turn of the 20th Century.[1][2][3]

EtymologyEdit

The name "Gazeka" was not used by either Monckton or Papuan people. The original gazeka was a monster appearing in a comic stage musical, The Little Michus, created by George Graves. In the musical, the gazeka is discovered by an alcoholic explorer. Karl Shuker points out that whoever referred to the Papuan devil pig as "Monckton's gazeka" was in fact calling Monckton a liar or a drunkard.[2] Monckton himself referred to "witty scribes" referring to the animal as a gazeka.[1] The original name used for the animal was "devil pig".

DescriptionEdit

Witness Ogi described the animals he saw as 3.6ft tall and 5ft long, vaguely pig-shaped, with very dark or black patterned hides, cloven feet, a long snout, and a hairy tail.[2] It grazes on grass and moss and has a long, shrill call.[1]

SightingsEdit

1875Edit

In 1875, Lieutenant Sidney Smith and Captain John Moresby (for whom Port Moresby, capital of Papua New Guinea, is named) of the HMS Basilisk discovered a very large dung heap whilst surveying the north coast of Papua New Guinea between Huon Bay and Cape Basilisk. The heap was too large to have been made by a pig, and the sailors believed it to have been produced by a rhinoceros, which are not found in New Guinea:[2][3]

"At the head of Collingwood Bay we found a good anchorage, and remained two days cutting wood. Here Lieutenant Smith observed the droppings of some large grass-eating animal in a spot where the bushes had been heavily trampled and broken. Our opinion was decided that a rhinosceros [sic] had haunted there; and we were much surprised, as this animal has-never been believed to exist in New Guinea. It would have been very satisfactory to have set the question thus started at rest, but time failed us."[4]

Later reports of rhinoceroses and buffaloes in New Guinea were believed to have referred to wild pigs and cassowaries, though this was not proven.[5]

Later in the year, after the sailors' discovery was reported, German zoologist Adolf Meyer wrote to Nature reporting that the Papuans in the area south of Geelvinks Bay knew of a very large but rare pig-like creature.[2]

circa 1880'sEdit

A large animal with a long snout was sighted during Sir William MacGregor's expedition to Mount Scratchley.[1] In his official report, he simply wrote:[5]

"Animals are rare. The wild dog, an occasional wallaby, a stray tree-kangaroo, and a long-snouted animal not yet obtained, form the bulk of the quadrupeds."

1906Edit

The most famous encounter occured during Captain Charles Monckton's expedition to Mount Albert Edward, during which he personally saw some very large tracks with cloven feet, evidently made by a heavy animal:

"Here we found the tracks of a very large, heavy, cloven-footed animal; an average spoor was measured by Mr. Money, and proved to be four inches by four and a half inches. There were others much larger, but we took an average. Excrement smaller than, but in other respects resembling that of a horse, but otherwise strange to me, was very plentiful. The herbage had been grazed, and in some places turned up."

On the 10th of May two expedition members, an army private called Ogi and a village constable called Oina, were sent out to find a trackway but became seperated, and whilst seeking Oina, Ogi came across two large pig-like creatures grazing. Ogi fired on them, and the smaller one wandered off, but the larger only turned and looked at him. He saw something odd in the animal, and the carrier who was with him called it a "devil-pig". As Ogi tried to reload, the smaller animal called, and the larger walked off (Monckton believed they were mates). Ogi himself never described the encounter in print, but Monckton recounted his experience as follows:

"After he [Ogi] had parted with Oina, the carrier with him had pointed out two enormous pigs feeding on a grass patch. He had gone within thirty yards and fired at one, but said that his hand was shaking so much with cold that he could not hold his rifle straight. At the report of the rifle, the smaller of the two animals moved off; the larger raised its head, and turned round and looked at Ogi, who perceived that there was something unusual about it. At the same time the carrier called out "Those are devils, not pigs!" While Ogi, partly paralysed with cold and fright, was fumbling with a second cartridge, the animal that had at first moved off called to its mate, which at once trotted away."

Monckton could not discover what happened afterwards, as Ogi and the carrier were both in a state of shock.[1][2][3]

1910Edit

Ambun carving

An Ambun carving.

During a British Ornithologists Union expedition to the Mimiko River, naturalist Walter Goodfellow collected native testimonies of a similar creature.[2]

1962Edit

Since 1962 a number of stone carvings have been discovered in the Ambun Valley of New Guinea's highlands, depicting a prominently trunked animal. Although traditionally identified as a long-beaked echidna, in 1987 mammalogist James I. Menzies proposed that the appearance of the animals was more consistet with Palorchestes (see below).[2][3]

TheoriesEdit

The most prominent theory is that the animals are or were relict Palorchestes, a type of large diprotodontid marsupial which possessed a tapir-like snout, supported by Karl Shuker and Bernard Heuvelmans.[6] However, no Palorchestes remains are known from New Guinea, or indeed from anywhere outside of Australia.[2] Monckton, who did not see the animal himself, compared it to a babirusa based on Ogi's description.[1] Suggestions of wild feral pigs, Malayan tapirs, babirusa, and Javan rhinoceroses are discounted by George Eberhart.[3]

Further cryptozoological readingEdit

Most of the existing research on the gazeka has been done by Shuker, but an unidentified book found in a Canadian library also mentioned it. This book is notable because it is said to contain a second photograph of the De Loys' ape.[7]

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Monckton, Charles (1922) Last Days in New Guinea
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Shuker, Karl (1995) In Search of Prehistoric Survivors
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Eberhart, George (2002) Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology
  4. Moresby, John (1876) Discoveries and Surveys in New Guinea and the D'Entrecasteaux Islands
  5. 5.0 5.1 Murray, John Hubert Plunkett (1912) Papua; or British New Guinea
  6. ShukerNature: SEEKING MEGA-CAECILIANS
  7. Shuker, Karl (2010) Karl Shuker's Alien Zoo: From the Pages of Fortean Times