Belarus police call off search for mystery ape

Author : DPA

Minsk - Belarusian police on Tuesday said they no longer were searching for a mystery ape last seen in marshy woodlands bordering Latvia, the Interfax news agency reported. "It was a monkey that got loose from a circus," said Aleksei Gaiko, a police spokesman. "It probably died during the winter snows."

Belarusian law enforcement agencies considered the case closed and were no longer searching for the animal, he said.

Farmers living in Belarus' northern Grodno province last Summer reported dozens of sightings of an ape-like creature in neighbouring swamps.

Witnesses usually described what they saw as close to man-sized, and moving on two or four limbs. It most often often was sighted eating corn in farm fields in the Lidsky district of the Grodno province.

Accounts varied widely on the creature's hair color, some observers recounting it had white or light grey fur, and others saying the animal was dark grey or black.

Police assisted by hundreds of volunteer hunters attempted to track down "Grodno Hairy Beast," as the creature was generally called, but were unsuccessful.

"It was no monster," Gaidko argued. "Most likely the animal got loose from a circus, and the circus owners just didn't want to admit the loss because if they did they would have had to pay for the search effort."

The last sighting was in early Autumn 2008 in a rural Belarusian region near the Latvian border.



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