Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Sumatran stories: Cigau, the Golden Lion

Now we know these pictures probably don't hold a candle to the real Cigau, if it exists (or ever existed), but for the purposes of illustrating what we're on about they will have to do.

So just what is the Cigau (pronounced chee-gow)?

It is Sumatra's other cryptid, a golden-furred big cat - generally described as smaller but more stocky than a tiger, sporting a lion-like mane, a short tail, and forelegs longer than its hind legs, the latter detail reminscent of the hyena - known also as the Sumatran Lion. 

What on earth? Well why not - we are after all hunting for a pint-sized human-like ape, so the more the merrier where cryptids are concerned.

Richard Freeman wrote about the cigau following the CFZ's 2003 expedition:

"Back when Sahar's father was a bachelor (as Sahar is the same age as me this would have made it some time during the 1960s) he saw the cigau. Kerinci trades with other parts of Sumatra. They exchange rice for goods like silk. Sahar's father and four other men were traveling a trade route. The path led through the jungle. One of the men had committed a great taboo. He had eaten rice straight from the pot rather than waiting for portions to be given out.

"In the dead of night the cigau came from the forest to claim him. It stalked right into their camp and dragged him off into the darkness. It was smaller but stockier than a tiger. It had a silvery lion like mane and golden fur. Its forelegs were longer than its back legs like the build of a hyena. It had a short, tufted, cow like tail. The men searched the jungle franticly for their lost comrade but when they found him he was minus a stomach, disemboweled by the cigau.

"Sahar's father also spoke of a cigau who laired near a fallen tree that formed a natural bridge over a river. It would swim out and devour those who slipped into the water.

"Debbie also commented that she had many recent reports of the cigau in water. Most of them mentioned it flinging back its mane to shake of the water."

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