Thursday 1st September 2011
by Cathy Ellis, Rocky Mountain Outlook

Bigfoot believers claim they have DNA evidence that proves the mythical half-man, half-ape-like creature has been roaming the forests of Banff and Kootenay national parks.

A group known as Sylvanic, a dedicated bigfoot research organization, say they collected hair samples and video evidence this spring of the elusive creature.

Their belief has sparked some serious interest – and the Banff area is soon to be featured in an episode of the popular Discovery Animal Channel show, Finding Bigfoot.

“I find the story interesting, and stranger things have been known to happen,” quipped Banff Mayor Karen Sorensen.

Bigfoot, also known as sasquatch, is generally believed to be a mythical ape-like creature that has been reported living in forests, mainly in the Pacific Northwest of North America.

Earlier this year, there were rumours of a sasquatch sighting near Silvertip in Canmore and there was also a sighting of bigfoot on the shores on Lake Minnewanka, which turned out to be hoax.

According to a website on Alberta sasquatch sightings, there have been about 25 sightings of the mythical creature or signs of their tracks since the mid-1980s, including a couple in Jasper National Park.

With Banff being featured on an upcoming episode of the hit television show, it’s sure to place the spotlight on Banff National Park – a boon for the local tourism industry.

“We’re always thrilled when people want to come and explore the landscape, but this is certainly a new twist to it,” said Julie Canning, president and CEO of Banff Lake Louise Tourism.

Scientists generally discount the existence of bigfoot and consider it to be a combination of folklore, misidentification, and hoax, rather than a living animal.

The main reason behind this assertion is because of the large numbers thought necessary to maintain a breeding population for the creature to be able to survive.

That said, a few scientists have expressed interest and belief in the creature, including Jane Goodall, considered one of the greatest authorities on chimps and apes.