Costa Rican tourism operators might be missing a bet by not embracing cryptozoology, that is the study and pursuit of unknown animals.
A YouTube video purports to be a shot of the extinct dodo caught on a Costa Rican automatic trail camera. The video was posted in March, but recently it has gained publicity among those who follow such things.
The video has more than 700,000 views.
The dodo requires some imagination because it is shrouded in darkness. And there is no indication where the photo originated. Some viewers suspect a hoax.
Hoax or not, mysterious animals are big business. After all Costa Rica is the home of Jurassic Park, and a couple of brontosaurs would be great for tourism.
The country actually has a number of legends and sightings that could be exploited. These presumed creatures are far older than the likes of La Llorona and La Suegra, which appear to be Spanish imports.
Central America even has its own Bigfoot. It, too, is a hairy beast that is better known in Honduras and Guatemala as Sisemite.
Some call the creatures the protectors of the forest because they are said to attack hunters.
The creature’s history goes way back, and there are even representation in Mayan and Olmec pottery.
A University of Costa Rica researcher studied the legend as part of a linguistic report on the Chibchan language of the Pech peoples in Honduras.
There are plenty of automatic trail cameras in operation here for environmental research. The most crypto shot reported to A.M. Costa Rica has been someone running in the deep Cocovado jungle in his birthday suit. The man appears to be a modern human with little hair, not the Sasquach-type Sisemite or Yeti.
The stone spheres of the canton of Osa already are attracting a following of tourists interested in the supernatural or extraterrestrial. The spheres, after all, have been attributed to space travelers, among others. Still, legitimate archaeologists have refrained from exploiting this aspect.
Bigfoot, however, is nearly mainstream. The Animal Planet network has run a series of documentaries of a team seeking the humanoid in North America. The participants interview many individuals who said they saw such a creature, but Bigfoot has eluded the research team season after season.
Then there is the clever movie “Harry and the Hendersons,” which also is available on YouTube.
Such creatures are not to be confused with the flying saucer sightings at Lake Arenal, but that is another topic.