Apr 20, 2022 I Paul Seaburn

New Encounter with the Andean Bigfoot -- The Ucumar

Wait long enough and every country will eventually have its own version of the American Sasquatch or Bigfoot. Argentina and Chile share the Ucumar, also called the Ucumar-Zupai, which is a hairy humanoid said to live high in the Andes and its sightings are often attributed to the spectacled bears common in the area. A recent report comes from the Salta province of Argentina and the man who turned it in was convinced this was no bear.

“He was like a big, hairy, dark gorilla. He crossed a fence when I shined the flashlight on him.”

Turn that light off!

The unnamed baquiano (guide) told El Tribuno (Spanish language site) he encountered what he believed was an Ucumar in San José de Metán in the Salta province of northwestern Argentia. He clamed to have gone outside with a flashlight to see why his dogs were barking and confronted the creature that “was not something human nor was it a common animal.” His dogs ran into the house and the man, who lives alone, was left to calm his horses before they jumped a fence out of fear of a creature he estimated to stand 1.7 meters (5.5 feet) tall.

“It was walking slowly, it was very robust, it looked where I was and there I saw his red eyes. Then he went into the bush.”

The baquiano (also referred to as a gaucho) knew what he was viewing – some of the earliest sightings of Ucumars back in the late 1950s were in the Salta area – 17-inch-long tracks had been discovered and eerie calls coming from the mountains. Those calls are what convince locals this is no spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus).

"This is a film that came to me after discovering on the internet the probable existence of this creature in northern Argentina."

"In Metán we have filmed the stories about the apparitions of the Ucumar, with all the sightings and testimonies that have emerged over the years and that had international repercussions,"

Award-winning film director Octavio Revol Molina came to Metán after hearing tales of the Ucumar in the area. His documentary film 'Ucumar'  as produced but the release delayed by the coronavirus epidemic – it is expected to be entered in the next round of film festivals. If you wonder why a top director might be interested in a seemingly obscure Argentine Bigfoot clone, this description from historian, writer and poet Carlos Jesús Maita of a sighting in 2019 might help.

"This being is a kind of hybrid between human and animal, with a mixture of bear, man and monkey. It arose according to carnal relations between compadres and comadres, or between a patron and a servant, where the son was hidden in some forest or jungle, and ended up living in the forest, and that is how the humanoid would have emerged."

Searching the Andes for Ucumar?

You had us at “a mixture of bear, man and monkey” and “carnal relations,” Carlos. However, skeptics point out that Ucumar and Ukumari are also names for the nearly-extinct spectacled bear -- which is the only bear native to South America and a vegetarian. Pair that with the mythology that the cryptid Ucumar likes to eat a native plant with an inside similar to cabbage and you have a case for the beast being a misidentified bear.

“I did not believe in that, but now I saw it up close with my own eyes."

The anonymous witness did not believe in the Ucumar monster until he claims he saw it up close and personal. Will this sighting raise the reputation and prove the existence of the Ucumar in the cryptid world? Probably not. Will it get the creature a TV commercial for car insurance? Now THAT’S a possibility.

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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