Jul 20, 2022 I Paul Seaburn

Rare Dog-Faced Tiger Reportedly Found by Discoverer of the Indian Chupacabra

Today we get a two-fer from India in the category of “Maybe extinct species or unusual cryptid creature.” First up is the rare Dog-Faced Tiger, which was thought to be extinct but has been  seen recently in a few remote areas. It is not a tiger but potentially a new species of big cat, and it is not a dog but ironically eats them. One of the scientists who first discovered the Dog-Face Tiger has also found a second unique and unusual creature in India – the Indian chupacabra, which is also called the Vampire Kangaroo and is possibly related to one of them. Which one … and who is this Indian scientist with the knock for finding such weird species?

A vampire kangaroo?

“Tribes have a deep understanding of the forest and have known Neelagiri Tiger for centuries! Non-Tribal residents who live close to forests have also seen it when it emerges to hunt domestic animals, particularly dogs, but nobody was interested in conducting research on this species until Dijo Thomas learned about it.”

The Hans India reported the rediscovery of the Neelagiri Kaduva by Dijo Thomas, a controversial Indian wildlife expert who, according to his blog, is also an inventor, defense analyst, strategic political analyst, weapon systems developer, human rights activist, police reform activist, social worker, philosopher and more. Where does he find the time to look for rare species? That’s where some of the controversy about him lies – Thomas claims to have invented the F3B-NSPM (Facts, Features, Factors etc. Based - New Species Scientifically Proving Method) method to “scientifically prove a new species” without having “1. Specimen 2. Direct Sighting 3. Photos 4. Taxonomy or 5. DNA Tests.” The method seems to be based on using circumstantial and second-hand evidence, then applying “logic” to infer a conclusion – in these cases, the existence of an extinct species of a cryptid. The method is said to have been approved by the 103rd Indian Science Congress.

Thomas says he heard about the Neelagiri Kaduva, also known as the Tiger of the Blue Mountains, from natives in the three states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka in southern India, and claims he “discovered” it in 2014, quickly proclaiming it to be a new species of big cat and a “walking fossil” ancestor of both felines (cats) and canids (dogs).

“A scientific paper on this new species, ‘NeelagiriKaduva’, was presented at the Indian Science Congress held at the University of Mysore in January 2016. Even though the pug marks of ‘NeelagiriKaduva’ are similar to that of the tiger, it has three distinguishing features, the most important being that all the marks have claws clearly visible, implying that the claws are non-retractable.”

Neelagiri Kaduva drawing (posted with permission granted by Dijo Thomas)

Dijo Thomas’ main piece of evidence of the existence of the Neelagiri Kaduva is a pug mark (footprint) which he claims are not from a tiger but a new species. However, The Decca Chronicle reported in 2016 that officials of the Wildlife Department in Kerala will only confirm it is from a wild cat, and need more evidence before declaring it a new species. Thomas’ website has a color drawing of the Neelagiri Kaduva based on eyewitness descriptions and an alleged cub found in 2014. Dijo says he has 12 years of research in which he has spoken with more than 350 eyewitnesses in three states and believes that should be sufficient proof. If you follow Bigfoot sightings in the U.S., you know that far more reports and alleged footprints have not yet been sufficient to scientifically prove the existence of Sasquatch. Even without the approval of his peers, says he will continue to firth to save the Dog-Faced Tiger he believes to be related to both dogs and cats.

In the meantime, Thomas is also promoting his other alleged big discovery – the Indian Chupacabra. Also known as the Vampire Kangaroo, the Raktha Athika has actually been captured and photographed – a photo of one appears here in the Deccan Chronicle along with details that it was caught in the state of Kerala … coincidently, one of the places where the Dog-Faced Tiger is said to roam. Thomas submitted the photograph to the Indian science congress in 2017, along with his analysis that a) the animal was wrongly identified as a palm civet cat – the small cat most famous for eating coffee beans and excreting them whole for people to collect, grind and brew as Kopi luwak. The researcher claims his ‘method’ shows this is also a new species, a marsupial and probably a distant cousin of the Kangaroo family. But it is not any ordinary kangaroo. According to Thomas:

“But, what is very distinctive is that unlike the Kangaroo, which is herbivorous, this Raktha Athika, belong to a different species, is a blood sucker.  Its morphological features show that it has webbed hand that proves it is a good swimmer also.”

Indian chupacabra (posted with permission granted by Dijo Thomas)

Yes, he believes what the natives say – the Raktha Athika is India’s version of the Chupacabra … and a marsupial kangaroo cousin as well. How did it get to India from Australia if it is a kangaroo, or from Puerto Rico or Texas if it a Chupacabra? Thomas believes this is another ancient species which could be an ancestor of the kangaroo rather than a cousin. Of course, more evidence is needed – it doesn’t appear this wildlife expert got any DNA from the Indian Chupacabra.

A depiction of the Puerto Rico chupacabra

Looking at both alleged rare animals and Thomas’ analysis, it’s interesting to note that the drawing of the Neelagiri Kaduva ‘Dog-Faced Tiger’ clearly shows stripes. If it exists, could it be a cousin of the Tasmanian tiger – the famous marsupial believed to be hunted to extinction in Australia yet still being reported on the mainland and on Tasmania? If the Indian Chupacabra is also a marsupial, could there have been some ancient connection – physical or otherwise – connecting India and Australia? Before expending too many brain cells on that one, tke another look at the photo – the Raktha Athika looks a bit like another animal – possibly a kangaroo or a civet cat – with mange … putting it in the same questionable category as the Texas chupacabras which resemble dogs or coyotes with mange.

A Dog-Faced Tiger that eats dogs, and a Chupacabra/Vampire Kangaroo that drinks blood. Is it time to up the world cryptid count – or nearly extinct possibly new species -- by two?

(This article was updated on 07/26/22 with photos sent by Dijo Thomas.)

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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