Parapedia - Shunka Warakin

The Shunka Warakin (also shunka warak'in) is an American beast from cryptozoology and mythology that is said to resemble a wolf, a hyena or both. The first discussion and description of this cryptid was by Loren Coleman in his columns and articles throughout the 1980s, especially as formally recorded in Cryptozoology A to Z. It was reported from the Great Plains during pioneer days, by both white settlers and Native American tribes. The sightings have become much less common in the last century, causing most supporters to suggest the animal is now extinct.

In the language of the American Indian Ioway people, as discovered and collected by Loren Coleman, shunka warak'in means "carries off dogs."

The best evidence of its existence was a specimen shot in 1886 by Israel Ammon Hutchins on what is now the Sun Ranch in Montana. It appeared to be a wolf-like creature with a long head, slightly resembling a wild boar. Some people say it looks more like some prehistoric or Ice Age creatures, perhaps surviving to the present day, like the thylacine. The creature was later acquired by Joseph Sherwood, a taxidermist, who mounted it and put it on display in his combination general store-museum in Henry's Lake, Idaho. Sherwood named the beast "Ringdocus". This information was recorded by zoologist Ross Hutchins, grandson of the man who shot it. This only known piece of physical evidence, a stuffed trophy, was never examined by qualified scientists and went missing. The trophy was rediscovered in December of 2007, and DNA tests may reveal the nature of the creature.

Cryptozoologists put forth a variety of prehistoric mammals as possible identities: hyaenodons, dire wolves, members of the subfamily Borophaginae (hyena-like dogs), or Chasmaporthetes (the only true American hyena). It has also been suggested, although not by mainstream cryptozoologists, as being a possible candidate for the Beast of Bray Road which could tie the creature in with Skinwalker legends. The shunka warak'in has never been described as walking upright, as researchers on the Beast of Bray Road contend their subject does.

Between December 2005 through November 2006, a shunka warak'in-like or large unusual-looking wolf-like beast killed 120 sheep in McCone and surrounding counties in Montana. It was shot on November 2, 2006, in Garfield County, Montana, and, as of December 10, 2006, Montana wildlife officials were unable to identify the 106-pound, reddish-yellow beast. According to an archived article on the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Website this animal has since been identified as a 4 year old male wolf with unusually red colored fur.

    * Cryptozoology A to Z (by Loren Coleman, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1999, ISBN 0684856026)