By Ella Matte, contributor
The West Coast has long been known – and mocked – for its Bigfoot and Sasquatch sightings, including on Vancouver Island.
But do people actually believe the creature exists?
Dr. Jeff Meldrum is a professor of anatomy and anthropology at Idaho State University. He also researches Bigfoot heavily and centres his work on the evolution of hominin bipedalism.
Speaking on the landscapes of B.C., he says “there’s a lot of interest and attention to the tempera rain forest of the coastal Pacific Northwest. It’s an amazing habitat and extremely rich. I think and others like myself held the notion that these tempera rainforests were probably the pure habitat of this large primate. It may have been the habitat that allowed the expansion into North America from Asia where they almost certainly originated. As evidenced by the fossil record of large apes in Asia, as well as the contemporary reports of something that on the surface appears remarkably consistent with Bigfoot or Sasquatch.”
Since they inhabit the land so heavily compared to other parts of the world, according to Meldrum, it raises the question: do citizens of B.C. believe bigfoot is real?
Over half of the unnamed people that were interviewed for this story on Government Street, and at the University of Victoria, said they do not believe in Bigfoot, while 36 per cent said they said they do and another 36 per cent said they don’t. A common theme among people was that even if they didn’t believe in Bigfoot, they still seemed to like that the creature is an interesting thing rooted in B.C. culture.
Meldrum gives some tips on where to look for Bigfoot.
“When you’re off-road/off-trail, very little of the terrain takes a track. So, if you want to up your chances, you know if you want to ‘buy extra lottery tickets’ then look for areas where there might be a trace found. Unimproved dirt roads, trails, that have moist areas and that’s not hard to find on Vancouver Island, creek banks, lake margins, those types of things increase your odds of finding footprints.”
He also suggests that folks better train themselves to keep their eyes peeled for wildlife in general.
“If you go out hoping to find a Bigfoot, but you’ve never seen a bear, a deer or fox, those animals are much more common.” He adds, “if you develop your skills of wildlife observations so that you do see the signs, if not the animals themselves. Their footprints, their burrows, their hair, then you’ll up your odds of noting this much sign of this much rare animal. Be prepared, and have your little kit. In your day pack make sure you do have a camera.”