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Composite of Harry Trumbore's ucumar drawing on the Chilean landscape


The ucumar also called ucu or sachayoj is a neo-giant that inhabits the subtropical forests and scrublands in the mountains of central and southern Chile. They also inhabit the adjacent western portions of the Argentine Mendoza and La Salta provinces, between the Valdivian temperate rainforests to the south and the Atacama desert to the north.

They’re very similar in appearance and behaviour to the more northern sasquatch. The ucumar is 6.5 to 8 feet tall, with heavyset bodies and barrel-shaped torsos. They have visible sagittal crests, no visible neck, a large jaw, and are covered in black, brown, or dirty-red hair. They primarily eat small mammals, but their favourite food is the cabbage-like payo plant. They are solitary animals and are rarely seen by people, more often being heard making their distinct whooping and hollering calls.

In 1956, a geologist found 43 cm (16.9 in) long tracks at an altitude of 16,000 ft in the eastern Andes in the La Salta province of Argentina. A year later, more tracks at the same spot were found. A newspaper investigating the tracks were told by the locals in the nearby village of Tolor Grande that they were hearing “eerie calls” in the direction of the Curu-Curu mountains.

In 1958, Carlos Manuel Soto and a group of campers were hiking near Rengo, Chile when they claimed to have seen an ucumar at their campsite. Soto and the other campers even took affidavits. In 1979, anthropologist Silva Barrios was told by locals that the ucumar or “strange monkey” would sometimes come down from the mountains and scream at cattle.

In 2003, a man named Patricio Saldano, who was the caretaker of a garbage dump saw an ucumar at close range. Saldano’s dogs started frantically barking, clearly very scared by something in the direction of his pigsties. He grabbed his flashlight and investigated. Next to one of the pigsties was a huge, hair-covered ape standing on its hind legs, waving its long arms at the dog, which Saldano interpreted as the ucumar trying to intimidate them. He also noticed it had pronounced “claws” or long fingernails. His wife and his two daughters also witnessed the event. Their neighbours, the Pereyra family were on their way to the dump shortly after the Saldano’s sighting and claimed to have seen a “big monkey” leap over the hood of their truck, scratch the side, and run into the bushes. 

Also in 2003, Humberto Sosa and Susana Romano, two athletes, were on a morning jog when they passed an ucumar on the side of the trail. The ucumar then started following them at a distance of about 10 yards but eventually gave up. Reports of neo giants/ucumar outside of central Chile and western Argentina have been reported, but they’re few and far between. 

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