Wednesday, 17 June 2009


Tshenkutshen - Ecuador's extraordinary 'rainbow jaguar' (Tim Morris)

I was very encouraged by the number of responses, both via the blog and directly to me, that I have received in reply to my request for info re the coelacanth goblet - so much so, in fact, that I see ShukerNature as a useful forum in which to bring forward other crypto mysteries that have come to my attention but remained unresolved. So from now on, I intend to publicise a number of these here, in case somewhere out there is a reader with important new info to share.

Next up, therefore, is the following mystery cat for consideration, one that is unlike any other that I have ever encountered in the literature.

During some fieldwork in southern Ecuador’s Amazonian region in summer 1999 Spanish cryptozoologist Angel Morant Forés made enquiries as to whether this South American country also harboured any reclusive crypto-cats or other mystery beasts. As revealed in his field report of October 1999, he was staggered to learn that several hitherto-undocumented forms may indeed exist here, still evading scientific detection and description, and including one enigmatic cat of extraordinarily colourful appearance.

Known to the Shuar Indians in the Macas region (Morona-Santiago province) as the tshenkutshen, this incredible cryptid is reputed to be the size of a jaguar, and black in colour, but ornately decorated with several stripes of different colours – black, white, red, and yellow – on its chest, “just like a rainbow”, in the words of one native hunter interviewed by Angel.

Said to inhabit the Trans-Cutucú region, Sierra de Cutucú, and the Sangay volcano area near Chiguaza, Ecuador’s mystifying rainbow cat is described by the Shuar as having monkey-like forepaws and being an exceptionally good tree-climber, leaping from tree-trunk to tree-trunk at great speed, and greatly feared as an extremely dangerous animal. One such cat may well have been killed in 1959 by Policarpio Rivadeneira, a Macas settler, while walking through the rainforest of Cerro Kilamo, a low mountain near the Abanico River. He had seen the creature leaping from tree to tree and, scared that it would attack him, shot it.

When he examined it, he discovered that it was a jaguar-sized cat, but instantly distinguishable from all cats that he had ever seen by virtue of the series of multicoloured stripes running across its chest, and also by its simian forepaws. Sadly, Rivadeneira does not appear to have retained the creature’s carcase, or even its pelt, so as yet there is no physical evidence available to support the existence of this fascinating felid.

Does anyone else know anything about this remarkable crypto-cat? If so, please send in details. Also, if there are any crypto-artists out there who would like to prepare a piece of artwork portraying this beautiful animal, I'd love to see it - it would certainly make a spectacular subject!


  1. Good story, Karl.

    Maybe a cover-up going on? :)

    Hopefully more information will be forthcoming.

  2. Hi there, Glad you like it - I'm hoping to publicise a lot of other forgotten mystery beasts in future blogs. There must be info out there that has not come to light on some of these intriguing cryptids. All the best, Karl

  3. Fascinating animal. I made up a similar creature for a book. Ironic, I think up the most bizzare cat I can imagine and it might actually be real!

  4. My son makes up very good crypto mythical creatures taken from pictures from the bestiary and given his own adaption.

  5. I wonder if this might turn out to be a relative of the onça-canguçú.

  6. Is anyone considering that this might be a close relative or morph of the onça-canguçú? Or is it too early for such speculation? :) I started wondering due to the white throat of the onça-canguçú.