October 22, 2003
By VINCE LENNON
6 News Reporter
CAMPBELL COUNTY (WATE) -- A new theory emerged Wednesday as a crypto-zoologist weighed in on sightings of a possible primate in Campbell County.
A Crypto-zoologist, someone who studies uncataloged animals such as skunk apes, accompanied a 6 News crew in Campbell County Wednesday.
Myakka "skunk apes" have been spotted in the southeastern United States since the 1940's.
Local crypto-zoologist Chris Dotson contacted 6 News after seeing the stories on Campbell County primate sightings. "The animal people reported seeing is not a pet."
Dotson took the skunk ape photographs Wednesday to people who've claimed to have seen the primate in the LaFollette area. Dotson's convinced that what people are seeing is a skunk ape.
"We need to capture this thing the best we can," Dotson said. "People need to stay away from it, allow experts to come in who have some knowledge of large primates like this and trap this animal."
Monkey owner Jerome Love answered a summons at the Campbell County Sheriff's Department with his Macaque monkey "Mugway." Love wanted to prove it's not his animal that's loose. "If it's a monkey that's killing these cats, it's not this one and I'm tired of it."
6 News is hearing more accounts from Campbell County residents who say they've seen the creature. Some date back 35 years. However, many people are hesitant to talk, for fear of being labeled as crazy.
In all, six cats and one dog have been killed in the last three days. And there have been a number of sightings within the last 48 hours. The warning still stands though for people not to try approaching the animal, but to report it to local authorities.
Crypto-zoologists believe there could be hundreds of skunk apes across the Southeast.